30 October 2006
Ensuring God Speaks to His People
The leadership of TRC has recently embarked on an extended reading of Mark Dever's book Nine Marks as part of our elder/deacon development. As I was contemplating mark one: expository preaching, I was struck by a thought in a different book about the importance of expository preaching--it is a clear channel for God's voice to be given to the church. Here's an edited version of the quote:
The preacher does not have the license to express any and every private opinion about whatever happens to be of personal interest. Luther argued the case rigorously:
If any man would preach, let him suppress his own words. Let him make them count in family matters and secular affairs. But here in the church he should speak nothing except the Word of this rich Head of the household; otherwise it is not the true church. Therefore this must be the rule: God is speaking.… That is why a preacher, by virtue of his commission and office, is administering the household of God and dare say nothing but what God says and commands. And although much talking is done which is outside the Word of God, yet the church is not established by such talk, though men were to turn mad in their insistence on it.
From Luther's quote, we can see that the best pastoral preaching is clear, forceful, relevant exposition of the texts of scripture. That is what distinguishes the ministry of the Word from editorial opinion on economics, politics and domestic affairs.
The amount of true authority in any sermon is in direct correlation to how much of the Master's voice is contained within it. May our hearer's hear His Word and not ours.