Preaching—God’s Way to Reformation & Revival -- By: Jonathan Armstrong

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 01:4 (Fall 1992)
Article: Preaching—God’s Way to Reformation & Revival
Author: Jonathan Armstrong

Preaching—God’s Way to Reformation & Revival

John H. Armstrong

In correcting an overly charismatic and triumphalistic congregation in ancient Corinth the Apostle Paul exhorted the church to recover its confidence in the preaching of the cross of Christ. He wrote:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:17–18).

He adds, several verses later:

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those to whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (vv. 22–24).

It was with preaching that Paul came to minister in pagan Corinth. It was with preaching that he ministered to cultured Greek despisers and religious, sign-demanding Jews. He affirmed that “his message and preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (2:3).

Most of us are well aware that preaching has been under serious attack for several decades. This attack comes from social scientists who insist that one-way, monological, verbal communication is ineffective. People simply do not learn best this way. Further, the attack comes from those who believe that people discover truth best when they find it on their own without someone “preaching to them. “Still others attack preaching, in far more subtle ways, by insisting that drama, upbeat music and other more visually oriented approaches are better for the church in this age of television.

Indeed, the term preaching is often used in a pejorative sense; e.g., “He is always preaching at me,” or “All he ever does is preach.” The idea is that preaching is a kind of “putdown” or coward’s castle for the authoritarian. (I would not deny that some have abused the ministry of preaching in this and other similar ways.)

Most of our seminaries and Bible colleges put little stress on the value and place of preaching. Homiletics courses are, at best, courses in methodologies that help the minister prepare messages that are often artificial and frequently not genuinely grounded in Scripture. The emphasis in the course requirements of many such schools has shifted in the last few ...

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