Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Nature of Preaching and Some Implications Thereof

Below you can find the results of an exhaustive concordance search through the New Testament for words related to preaching and proclaiming, to find their referents. I found that the Greek words kerusso (κηρύσσω) and euagelizzo (εὐαγγελίζω) were by far the most common words that communicate the idea of preaching or proclamation.

Normally in a modern American institutional church context, we think of "preaching" as that which the pastor does from the pulpit during the Sunday morning gathering, which forms the backbone of the teaching and theological education and confession of believers in the church. We can see in the NT, however, that there is no unequivocal reference to “preaching” in connection to what is done during the assembly of the church, while there are tons of references to preaching being an activity by which Christians reach out to unbelievers. (It would seem that “teaching”, didasko [διδάσκω] and the like, would be more along the lines of what the NT authors thought ought to be done by believers with other believers, but that’s another analysis.)



Given that, it seems like one of the main things that people are supposed to do, and leaders are supposed to do, is just that – preach the Gospel to the lost. Consider these:

2 Tim 4:2 – preach the word, be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and instruction.
Preaching the Word is evangelism, if the rest of the uses of “kerusso” in the NT have any bearing on the meaning of the word. How many men who hold the office of “pastor” today ever do that or even have ever done that?

Php 1:15 – Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.
2Co 1:19 – For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.
2Co 4:5 – For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants  for Jesus’ sake.


One of the main thrusts of 2 Corinthians is Paul’s pleas with the Corinthian church not to push him aside or reject him anymore from having a strong connection to him, because he is the one who was their spiritual father, because most of them owed their souls to his preaching the Gospel. Of course he taught and discipled them, yes of course. But here we see him talking about preaching in a way that suggests he is reminding them about their origins in Christian life; it’s because Paul and his partners proclaimed the good news to the Corinthians such that they got saved.

Rom 10:15 – And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
1Co 1:23 – but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
1Co 9:27 – But I discipline my body and keep it under control,  lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1Co 15:11 – Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
1Co 15:12 – Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?


These too are pretty clear references to Gospel proclamation in an evangelistic context.

Act 20:25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.

This from a discourse spoken by Paul to the older men of the Ephesian church. “Among whom” could mean either that he preached the Gospel in their city and thus won people to the Lord, or that they were a group of preachers of the Gospel, that these older men also worked with him in that ministry, and Paul worked among them (as opposed to OVER them).

So how is it that so many so-called pastors of today are eager to cite the epistles to Timothy as evidence of their authority and of the necessity of mere laymen to submit to them, as well as for inspiration and direction for their ministry, and yet they ignore the explicit direction to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5) and what “preach” and “proclaim” and the Greek words those words translate are trying to communicate in the New Testament?

Here’s one very plausible explanation that carries an awful lot of explanatory power with respect to other things that men who hold the “office” of “pastor” do and don’t do – they fear men and love comfort. It’s crazy and weird to find sinners on the street and proclaim the law and the Gospel to them. It’s hard. It’s tiring. The world doesn’t look kindly at you when you do that, and neither do worldly churchians and big donors. It attracts persecution, whereas stashing yourself in your cozy office poring over the latest textual critical notes from the Nestle-Aland Greek apparatus and the latest doo-dads in Logos Bible software so you can craft a really good Sunday sermon, well, that’s honestly pretty easy. Plus you get to justify having a nice computer to use for other things when you’re not “working” and the fancy degree you have hanging on your wall. It’s hard to see how that sort of thing is actually taking up your cross.

People don’t invite street preachers to cool community awards banquets and give them places of honor at luncheons and prayer breakfasts. That’s reserved for the suit-wearing pastor man who always has a flattering word for someone and who “handles the Word of God correctly”, which is to say, he can construct a sermon that is full of correct doctrine even to the minutest of details when discussing abstract theology. He doesn’t incorporate the other aspect of doctrine, ie that which tells you how to act (answerlike Jesus and His apostles) and when you ought to act (answer“starting now”, usually) into his sermons, because that is far too convicting for people who make good money building up social institutions and putting on banquets and ceremonies. Convince too many people that they ought to be proclaiming the Gospel all the time, that these awards and seats of honor really truly are skubalon, and you’ll start threatening livelihoods and bottom lines.

None of this is to say that there should not be teaching within churches. Definitely there should be!

Romans 15:14 - And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.
1 Corinthians 14:26 - What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
Ephesians 5:21 - Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Hebrews 5:11-14 - Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.


All believers should be teaching each other! But part of the problem I'm trying to point out is that far too many today think of the teaching to be done within the church as:
--the job of the man who holds the office of pastor
--not the job of "ordinary Christians", which exempts them in their mind from maturing and training themselves in the Scripture and obedience to it, so they can squeak into Heaven while enjoying their leisure and pastimes on Earth as well
--to be done at specific times of the week (specifically, Sunday morning, and for the really pious, Sunday and Wednesday nights)
--to be done from an elevated position with the one guy actively talking and and the rest of the passive spectators sitting and soaking

And of course, since that qualifies as "preaching" in the minds of most, they figure they're actually fulfilling the examples and commands in the NT since "preaching" happens a lot at their church; no need therefore to do what the NT actually thinks is preaching, which is continually, consistently, and unceasingly engaging lost people with the law and the Gospel.

See below my search:



kerusso
euagelizzo
Other
Mat 3:1
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea
Luk_4:43  but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose."
Mat_23:3  so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
--ESV says “preach” unhelpfully – it’s lego, to say.

Mat_4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Act_14:7  and there they continued to preach the gospel.
1Co_1:21  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
--kerugma

Mat 4:23
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
Act_16:10  And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Mat 9:35
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
Rom_1:15  So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Mat 10:7
And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Rom_10:15  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"

Mat 10:27
What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
Rom_15:20  and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation,


Mat_11:1  When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

1Co_1:17  For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.


Mat 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
1Co_9:16  For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!


Mat 26:13
Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
2Co_2:12  When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord,



Mar 1:4
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
2Co_10:16  so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence.


Mar 1:7
And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
Gal_1:8  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.


Mar 1:14
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
Gal_1:16  was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;


Mar_1:38  And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out."
Eph_3:8  To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

Mar 1:39
And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.


Mar 1:45
But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.


Mar_3:14  And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach


Mar 5:20
And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.


Mar 6:12
So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.


Mar 7:36
And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.


Mar 13:10
And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.


Mar 14:9
And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”


Mar 16:15
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.


Luk 3:3
And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.


Luk 4:18
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor...


Luk 4:19
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


Luk 4:44
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.


Luk 8:1
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,


Luk 8:39
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.


Luk 9:2
and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.


Luk 12:3
Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.


Luk 24:47
and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.


Act 8:5
Philip went down to the city  of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.


Act 9:20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”


 Act 10:37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed:


 Act 10:42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.


 Act 15:21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”


 Act 19:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”


 Act 20:25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.


 Act 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.


Rom 2:21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?


Rom 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);


Rom 10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?


Rom_10:15  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"


1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,


1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,  lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.


1Co 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.


1Co 15:12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?


2Co 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.


2Co 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants  for Jesus’ sake.


Php_1:15  Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.


Col 1:23
if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation  under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.


1Th 2:9
For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.


1Ti 3:16
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He  was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated  by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.


2Ti_4:2  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.


1Pe 3:19
in which  he went and proclaimed  to the spirits in prison,


Rev 5:2
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”


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