Paul exhorts Timothy to preach the Word. He commands his disciple to be ready in season and out of season; to reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching (2 Timothy 4:2). There are few commands – if any – more foundational to the life of the Church than this two thousand year old exhortation. Unfortunately, partial erosion is lapping at the shores of the Church in Canada as more and more pastors are caving to congregations who will not endure sound teaching. Having itching ears these churches accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, as they turn away from listening to the truth in order to wander off after myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4). It is no secret that in many corners of the Canadian Church, the Bible is being abandoned for pulpit-driven entertainment, truth is being traded for self-help, and the biblical curriculum of the Church, which is the ministry of the Word, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42), is being compromised by the wants of the world.
There is much that we could legitimately do as Christians with a clear conscience. Unfortunately, however, by our over-occupation with seemingly justifiable pursuits we are increasingly neglecting the obligatory core requirements of Church life. Chief among the neglected core is faithful preaching of the Word of God.
I am hardly a sage of the Word. Nor am I a veteran of the pulpit. Indeed, it is purely by the grace and generosity of God, that I devote myself to becoming an ever more useful vessel for the preaching of His Word (1 Timothy 4:15-16). And yet, even now, I feel compelled to add my voice to the many others who long to see a resurrection of Christ-centred biblical teaching in Canada. I recognize that in the coming blog posts I will present ideas that could, and should, be improved upon. I do not contribute my thoughts as the definitive destination for the preaching life of the Church. Rather, I hope to stir us to consider what Christ-centred biblical preaching could be.
The purpose for this blog series, then, is that we explore the theology of preaching. What is biblical preaching? Why do we devote ourselves to it? How ought we to approach the pulpit? What happens when a preacher stands before a congregation with an open Bible and proceeds to speak to Words of God to the people of God? These are the questions, among others, that I hope to consider in the months ahead.
This blog series will be primarily for preachers and teachers of God’s Word. However, it will also be written for those who receive the preaching of God’s Word week after week in the local church. Preaching of one form or another is something that all Christians are familiar with. Like prayer it is an assumed part of the Christian life. Also like prayer, it is rarely ever taught about. We do not often teach one another what preaching is, why the Church is committed to it, and how preacher and congregation can partner to open God’s Scriptures together. So, whether you are a preacher or a Christian who receives preaching, my prayer is that you will grow in your understanding and appreciation for what God does in and through the preaching of His Word.
Finally, my ultimate hope for this blog series is that together, like Timothy, we might fan into flame the gift of God that has been given to us: namely the divine anointing to preach the Word of God in a spirit of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Let us abandon the hallucinations of flashy church-growth models and return to a deep and profound commitment to the Holy Scriptures. Let us be ready in season and out of season. And let us entrust the growth to God.