Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Another Comment on Biblical Preaching

I received another comment on the topic of "Biblical Preaching" from my good friend Abe. You can read his comment by clicking here.

The following reply was also posted in the comment area.

Abe,

I appreciate your comments and you taking the time to write. I think Christians can learn a lot from each other in these types of discussions, so I look at all of this in a positive light.

Would you agree that a parable is a kind of story? Nearly every definition I have found today is similar to yours, except for the presence of the word "story" or narrative. In his paraphrase, "The Message", Eugene Peterson uses the word "stories" in Mark 4:10-12. I will admit they are not exactly the same as the stories many pastors use in their sermons. But, I think there are some similarities. Stories can help make an abstract or difficult concept personal. They provide the listener with a point of reference they can relate to in order to help them better understand the message a speaker is trying to convey. Can our stories ever measure up to the ones Jesus used? Of course not, and neither will any sermon I ever preach even begin to approach the ones Jesus gave 2000 years ago. However, I do believe it is appropriate to attempt to model sermons after the style that Jesus used, even though we know we can never live up to the standard he set.

The primary point I have been trying to convey is this. There are many out there who believe that the Bible is the sole revelation of God to his people. As I stated in a post today, I do not believe that. I believe God is still talking to people today. I believe this because I have heard him speaking to me. I have heard people attacking pastors, who have been mentors to me, by saying their preaching is not biblical. When questioned on what was not biblical about the sermon, they respond by saying that he wasn't holding a Bible while he was preaching and he didn't go through the passage verse by verse. However, if you analyze what the preacher said, the teachings were entirely biblical -- consistent with the message of the text the sermon was based on.

I guess I have not done a good enough job of making it clear that my problem is with the term "Biblical Preaching" when it is mis-defined and misused to attack another minister. All ministers should be practicing biblical preaching(notice the lack of quotes), and if they are not, they need to find another line of work. I also believe that every sermon should be based on scripture. However, I think the best pastors will use all of the knowledge and techniques the Lord has blessed us with to convey the wonderful message of the Gospel. Does this mean that the audience should leave feeling good about themselves after every sermon. No. But the audience should never leave a sermon without being told that God loves them.

I think we agree more than we disagree. Thanks again for taking the time to write, and please feel free to comment on this post as well!

2 comments:

Abe said...

I thank you brother Gil for your response; I love to study theology. You have a great heart for God and I admire your search for the truth in God's word and guidance from the Holy Spirit. I always enjoy a stimulating exchange of views about our Lord and Savoir. It's much better than filling our minds with reality TV.
I hope you don’t mind but I would like to challenge your statement on “Private Revelation” as you sited in the following quote.
"There are many out there who believe that the Bible is the sole revelation of God to his people. As I stated in a post today, I do not believe that. I believe God is still talking to people today. I believe this because I have heard him speaking to me."

If I understand you correctly, you feel God is still giving divine revelation to individuals? If that is true and I don’t mean to be harsh in anyway but I invite you to examine the implications of that statement. This would open the door to some very dangerous grounds. I would like to list a few men that have subscribed to the same theory, such as Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Rodney Howard-Browne, just to name a few that have fallen far away from the biblical truth. I don’t want to imply that you are like them but just ask you to read up on the subject to get a better understanding of it. A few preachers in the past like Charles Finney and Cotton Mather had only realized this error late in their lives and had suffered great sorrow when they final came to grips with it. I tell you this because I Love you brother and hope you engage in the search for the truth in it.
I had to land on this subject with both feet a few years ago because I was faced with it through a situation that God had placed in my life. I took a few months to research and study this issue and had many sleepless night trying to understand the truth of it all. During a seminar given by Phil Johnson on Private Revelations that I attended on the West Coast, God’s truth became clear as a bell. With much pray and supplication, I have come to some solid conclusions on the matter. The Bible is the sole revelation of God; this has been canonized in the last chapter of Revelations.

Here is a few research tools of men far greater than I am, that have written exhaustively on the subject.

Charismatic Chaos – Written by John MacArthur

Sola Scriptura! - Written by Robert Godfrey, James White, R.C. Sproul, John Armstrong, John MacArthur
www.aomin.org
Link: www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/CHAOS3.HTM

Luv ya man
Abe

Gil Gulick said...

For my response, I think we need to start by defining what a prophet is. This definition is just the result of a quick online search, so we may need to refine or change it, but it at least gives us a good starting point.

A prophet is basically a spokesman for God, a person chosen by God to speak to people on God's behalf and convey a message or teaching. Prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to God. They set the standards for the entire community.

So, if a prophet is someone speaking to the people on God's behalf, then God is obviously speaking to the prophet. And, according to Acts 2:17, we have not seen the last of the prophets:

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

So, if that is true, there are certainly prophets among us that God is pouring his spirit upon. That is my basis for believing that God is still giving divine revelation to individuals. There of course, as the Bible warns, false prophets out there. Just go to www.niv.org and do a search for false prophets, and you will see numerous warnings against them.

One of the reasons I am writing here to see how my beliefs change before and after seminary. I certainly make no claims that everything I write is correct, but I certainly don't think there is anything dangerous in discussing Christian issues.

Thanks again for writing. I am enjoying the dialogue we are having, and the spirit we are having it in.