Page 8 - November 2020 - Truth & Tidings
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ow we come to an objection     plunder and steal instead. Drawing from
               people inside the Church have   Jonathan Griffiths’ illuminating work,
                                                                                1
        Nraised, that preaching is unbib-     we’ll limit ourselves to three passages that,
        lical, even pagan. Oh, not preaching to   considered contextually, show the practice
        unbelievers, in  the  public  square.  But   of preaching to the gathered church to be
        preaching to Christians, in the gathered   robustly biblical.
        church.                                 “I charge you … preach the word; be
          These people are well-meaning. They   ready in season and out of season; re-
        come to their objection out of a care for   prove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete
        evangelism (seeing preaching as some-  patience and teaching” (2Ti 4:1-2). 2
        thing done in church will weaken our re-  Paul uses the word kērussō in his sol-
        solve to do it in the world) and edification   emn charge to Timothy, the word often
        (questioning whether one man preaching   employed for the public declaration of
        while everyone else sometimes listens is   the gospel. Yet here Paul intends Timo-
        truly a recipe for spiritual growth).   thy to preach the Word in the context of
          Furthermore, they’re not without Bible   the gathered church, as the surrounding
        texts. Those who object for evangelistic   verses show. The imperative to preach is
        reasons point out that in Acts, preaching   followed by four more imperatives which
        is mostly to unbelievers. Those with a bur-  round out Paul’s intention in the first
        den for edification note that according to   one. For instance, the second imperative
        texts like 1 Corinthians 14:26, everyone in   (“be ready in season and out of season”)
        the gatherings of the early Church brought   cannot stand on its own, and must apply
        a hymn, lesson or revelation, rather than   to the command to preach. The entire
        one person bringing a sermon. In short,   series of imperatives is then modified
        these objectors believe that the practice   by the phrase “with complete patience
        of preaching a sermon on a regular basis   and teaching.” All these terms (reprove,
        in the church is a pagan innovation that   rebuke, exhort, teaching) suggest that it is
        stunts the church’s growth in number and   Timothy’s ministry to Christians that is in
        spiritual maturity.                   view, and verses 3-4 confirm it. The reason
          We ought to thank God for such Chris-  this preaching ministry to the church is so
        tians, for they force us to ask of preach-  vital is that without it some believers will
        ing what we should ask of all our church   be led away from the truth.
        practices: Is it scriptural? That is the root   ¹ Jonathan I. Griffiths, Preaching in the New
        question we will zero in on. Rather than   Testament: An Exegetical and Biblical-Theological
        handling many texts (such as Acts 20:7,   Study (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press,
                                              2017), Kindle Edition.
        Romans 1:15, Colossians 1:28, 1 Timothy   ² All Scripture quotations in this article are from
        4:13) and be guilty of proof texting, let’s   the ESV.

        328 TRUTH kTidings   November  2020
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