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The whole Word to the whole world
The Pentecostal Pulpit
The Pentecostal Pulpit – this study examines some of the methods that will help you to achieve a presentation that should be acclaimed by your hearers as Pentecostal, enthralling, vivid, factual and filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Pentecostal Pulpit - this study examines some of the methods that will help you to achieve a presentation that should be acclaimed by your hearers as Pentecostal, enthralling, vivid, factual and filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
One of the most influential spiritual leaders in England during the early 17th century was a divine by the name of Laurence Chaderton. He is remembered mostly now as a scholar and as one of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible. But in his own time, he was most famous for his preaching.
For 50 years, he preached nearly every Sunday in the same church to enthralled crowds. Such a remarkable career was certainly not foreseen in his childhood. He was born into a wealthy Roman Catholic family and became a Protestant only after he had left home to go to Cambridge University. His father, deeply angered, disinherited him, and showed his scornful expectation of the boy's ruin by sending him a beggar's bowl containing a few old copper coins.
More on Pentecostal Pulpit
The Power of a Pentecostal Pulpit... "The Word of God is the greatest, most necessary, and most important thing in Christendom. For the Sacraments cannot be without the Word, but the Word may well be without the Sacraments. . .God will not allow us to rely on anything or cling to anything with our hearts that is not Christ as revealed in his Word, no matter how holy and full of the Spirit it may appear to be. . . . We must hear the Word that comes to us from without and not despise it, as some think. For God will not come to you in your private room and talk with you. It is decreed that the external Word must be preached and come first. Thereupon, after one has heard the Word and taken it to heart, the Holy Spirit comes, the proper Schoolmaster, and gives power to the Word, so that it strikes root. . .
Thus Martin Luther - who knew something about the matter - gave an extraordinary primacy to the Word of God, and especially to the preaching of scripture in church. He then insisted that nothing else could protect the church so adequately from wild enthusiasms and ruinous heresies -
"On this (primacy of scripture) we must insist, in order to protect ourselves against . . . those muddle-headed enthusiasts . . . who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, then proceed to judge, explain, and stretch Scripture or the spoken Word as they please. . . . These all are those who, apart from the use of the means of grace, reckon to devour the Holy Spirit, feathers and all, and are spiritualized through and through. . . . Many splendid words . . . they prate, so that he who does not know the devil might think they have five Holy Spirits with them. But when you ask them: How does one obtain this exalted Spirit? they do not direct you to the outward Gospel but to a utopia and say: Stand awaiting, as I have stood, then you will experience it; the heavenly voice will come, and God himself will speak with you. . . . Do you not see the devil, that enemy of divine order, in this method? How he gets you to gape with the words: Spirit, Spirit, Spirit! . . .
And then, in perhaps the highest encomium ever given to the preaching office, Luther declared he would rather go to church and hear a sermon than see some heavenly vision!
"Even if we heard angels preach in their majesty, we would not be moved any more by it than we are now by hearing our pastor or other ministers preach. If we were sure that what we hear is the Word of God, we would not snore so and be so lazy and secure. But because we think mere men are speaking and that it is man's word that we hear, we become unreasonable beasts. . . . Indeed, if the matter were in my hands, I would not want God to speak to me from heaven or to appear to me. But I would want - and this is my daily prayer - that I might . . . see and hear the brethren, who have grace and the Holy Spirit, and who by the Word can console, strengthen, exhort, admonish, and teach me. What better and more useful appearance of God would you desire?
Would that be your choice? Would you prefer a sermon to an angelic visitation? Can it really be better to listen to a preacher than to have God speak to you from heaven? Is there truly no greater appearance of God in the church than you can find in a sermon preached in the grace of Christ and inspired by the Holy Spirit?
As it happens, long before I knew Martin Luther's opinion on the matter, I had come to the same conclusion myself. I have never craved "visions", but oh! how joyous to encounter great exposition of scripture!
Even if Luther's sentiments were a little extreme, it would do the church no harm to absorb them again. In these days, when so many chase only fluff and feathers, we need to recapture the biblical notion that nothing stands higher in the church than the pulpit - not prayer, not worship, not the sacraments, not visions of angels, not prophesyings, nor anything else. You may take almost everything away from a church, and it will survive; but banish the pulpit, and it will soon perish. Now the pulpit means preachers, and preachers mean sermons. These pages, then, are about preachers and their sermons, and how the two should come together to build the church of Jesus Christ.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in the earth. Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:18-20)
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