I've been in this quandary as of late. In fact I wrote about it last night in a review for my preaching class. I'm not quite sure that what we call "preaching" is what Paul and the Apostles would have called preaching. It seems that every time a "Preacher" preaches a message the focus of his message is not on Christ as the New Testament would indicate the focus should be, but rather they focus is on how to live our lives as Christians. This would not be that bad, but I fear that the mix-up in the semantics of the word has caused great confusion on my behalf. The Greek word for preaching, seems to be inexhaustibly linked with the word for Gospel. In fact the Greek word εὐαγγελίζoμαι, literally means "I preach the gospel", though there is another word for just "I preach" the fact that we have a verb that is used exclusively for the gospel message seems to me to indicate that the Gospel message and preaching are linked.

This becomes very confusing when we consider what most preachers do "preach" on. We have many preachers that can spend their entire ministry never once preaching the Gospel message. It could even be that most people don't really know what the Gospel message is. When we say things like "Love you neighbor", we typically get a warm fuzzy feeling inside of us that says Ahhh...I can do this", and you should, yet the reality of the matter is, that isn't the Gospel. Not to say that these types of messages are bad, it maybe that this is a great way to pay homage to Christ, but when most preach they are not preaching the Gospel.

The Gospel message is distinct from Christian living and unless we draw the line we are doing a disservice to the word "Preaching" and we even run the risk of mass confusion and hysteria (or more possibly annoyance). Preaching denotes that we are spreading the message of salvation, it is evangelistic in nature. When we preach we are proclaiming Christ's death and resurrection for the atonement of sin. What we see done on a Sunday morning is typically speaking a sermon or expounding on the scripture, but not preaching. In a sermon we demonstrate through scripture how to live a life that mimics Christ. That is fine, but it is not preaching and while preaching may roll off of the tongue better and it may almost serve the same purpose, I believe that these two are vastly different in nature and should not be rolled together as one.

The best way to put how I feel would be to compare the shovel and the spade. They both serve a similar purpose but are vastly different in the context of their uses, yet lets say that we used the same word for both of them. What then would be more confusing than if I used a spade and called it a shovel. No one in their right mind would say "Well this is a justifiable because they kind of look the same and serve a similar purpose." We would rather insist on the proper use of each in it's context. Thus I must say that it would be much less confusing if we began to use preaching and speaking or rather expounding in their proper context.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Very interesting...you are definitely becoming a more articulate writer. There's no doubt about it.