Thursday, July 07, 2016

Reid: the precious relic

Thursday, July 7, 2016
    And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
    —Matthew 4:23 (ESV)
    It might help us in our thinking if we drew a distinction between preaching, which the New Testament talks about as a continuing activity in society at large, and sermonising, which we have made into a special activity in the church premises...
    A great many people sermonising in our churches today would be better off and of greater service if they absolved themselves from the bondage and disciplines of the pulpit and came down among their congregations, teaching informally on sounder educational principles. After all, the vital matter in the ministry of the Word is not that a clergyman delivers himself of a discourse but that the people to whom he ministers end up being taught something.
    The tragedy is that the professional clergy have been trained to sermonise and they seem overwhelmed with fears and a sense of insecurity when they contemplate other methods.
    A further problem, of course, is that most of our churches contain a significant number of people who become emotionally disturbed at any departure from what they have always done in the past. To them, the sermon is part of their Christianity—even if it bores them stiff!
    ... Gavin Reid (b. 1934), The Gagging of God, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969, p. 33-34 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 4:23; Mark 1:15; Luke 8:1; 1 Cor. 1:17-18,22-23; 2 Cor. 2:17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I confess that I fear departure from the familiar. Teach me to sense Your Spirit’s prompting in all things.
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