Though the doctrine that preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God does not confuse preaching and the Bible (see the last News), is not the preacher perhaps divine or at least divine when he is preaching? Of course not! The preacher is not God and does not share God’s being or works. Rather, God blesses His own truth which is faithfully opened up and explained by a saved sinner "sent" by Jesus Christ.
Perhaps this doctrine might make the preacher arrogant and domineering, and doesn’t it imply that he is infallible? The preacher is not inspired or infallible. Instead, believing this doctrine humbles the minister—a sinful man used to declare God’s counsel.
Another objection is that this view of preaching as the Word of God might make void the office of believer. Are not Christians, therefore, simply to receive everything from the pulpit unquestioningly? No. Scripture teaches both that preaching "is in truth, the word of God" (I Thess. 2:13) and that we must be like the Bereans who "received the word [preached] with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11). All preaching must be tested. Preaching which is not in accordance with the Bible must be rejected as a lie and not the Word of God. Preaching which is in accordance with the Bible must be received as the Word of God.
Someone might then ask, "Shouldn’t we write down sermons and add them to the biblical canon?" No; although faithful preaching is the Word of God, it is not a supplement to the Bible. Rather it is an explanation of the Bible by one of Christ’s messengers to His church.
To summarize, preaching is the Word of God when it is a faithful exposition of and exhortation from the Bible by one who is called of God and His church to that office. This is what the Bible teaches. We have seen that Paul, Silas, Timothy and all true ministers have the office of publicly proclaiming God’s Word. Acts 17:2-3 describes this as reasoning out of the Scriptures and explaining and demonstrating the truth of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. I Thessalonians 2:13 calls this "the word of God."
Preaching must be God’s Word for it to be the chief means of grace. If Jesus Christ does not speak to us in the preaching, how can we receive God’s grace and be blessed and built up thereby? Preaching is the chief means of grace because by it Christ speaks to us and imparts Himself to us. It is the link between God’s redemption of us in Christ and our apprehension of it by faith. If preaching is not Christ speaking to us, what is it? Merely religious discourse or an interesting speech or the voice of the minister? Scripture rules this out: faithful preaching is "not ... the word of men" but "it is in truth, the word of God" (I Thess. 2:13).
- Volume: 9
- Issue: 21
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851