Saturday, September 26, 2009

Who's the Arrogant Preacher?

Desiring God's national conference, With Calvin in the Theater of God, is underway. Doug Wilson's contribution, The Sacred Script in the Theater of God, has proved to be especially insightful.

Applying Calvin's understanding of God's Word and preaching to our day, Wilson makes a perceptive observation:
A minister should ascend into the pulpit in order to declare what would have been true had he never been born. He is there to preach what was written in the Word before all ages and is utterly disconnected from his personal dreams, hopes and aspirations. He is there as a herald. As an ambassador.

It is quite striking that when a man today stands up in the pulpit and opens the Bible and says something like "Thus says the Lord" or "These are the very words of God" or "Hear O Israel, Behold your God!" and declares from the Word, what is he accused of being? Arrogant! Because he thinks that he doesn't matter. He’s arrogant because he thinks he doesn’t matter.

And if a guy gets up there on a stool and a cardigan sweater and chats with the people and tells stories about himself for the entire length of the sermon… 10 minutes or so. Sermonettes for Christianettes. He’s talking about himself all day long, he’s "transparent."

A minister is not up there to develop a relationship with everybody individually, he is not the Holy Spirit. He is there as a herald, as an ambassador. He is there to declare something that is outside of his control. What God has revealed to us in the Bible is the message; that’s the script. He’s not up there to preach Himself, but rather to be a servant who preaches Jesus Christ, the crucified Lord (2 Cor 4:5).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More of the Same

...let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Heb 10:24-25)

Why does the Church do what it does on the Lord's Day gathering (i.e., Sunday morning corporate worship)? Because that's what it has always done. Just ask Justin...
On the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a given city or rural district. The memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then when the reader ceases, the president [pastor] in a discourse admonishes and urges the imitation of these good things. Next we all rise together and send up prayers.

When we cease from our prayer, bread is presented and wine and water. The president in the same manner sends up prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people sing out their assent, saying the 'Amen.' A distribution and participation of the elements for which thanks have been given is made to each person, and to those who are not present they are sent by the deacons.

Those who have means and are willing, each according to his own choice, gives what he wills, and what is collected is deposited with the president. He provides for the orphans and widows, those who are in need on account of sickness or some other cause, those who are in bonds, strangers who are sojourning, and in a word he becomes the protector of all who are in need.

But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.

For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

- First Apology, 67.

HT: Pulpit Mag
So, as we look toward the next Lord's Day, we hope, not for ingenuity or creativity, but more of the same.