Lessons from Wales

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Not much a Scottish Presbyterian can learn from Wales you might think, but it's been a delight to join with brethren from all over the world for the quadrennial meeting of the International Conference of Reformed Churches. It's a meeting of common Presbyterian minds, so as you can guess, it's warm in fellowship, deep in doctrine, and sometimes cumbersome in practice. But, as they said on the mountain, it is good to be here. 

I've appreciated the three papers on preaching, given by Bob Letham on the Necessity of Preaching, Bob Visscher on the Nature of Preaching, and particularly Ho Jin Jun of Cambodia Presbyterian Theological Seminary on preaching in non-literary cultures. While Dr Jun focussed on the Asian scene, we were amazed in discussion to realise how much non-literacy there is in Western cultures. 

Dr Jun's presence is an inspiration. I hope that when I come to retire, I'll think twice, and be enthused by the same passion for mission and teaching as he displayed in his paper. His first conclusion after surveying the scene, is that preaching in non-literary cultures must be simple. 

It's as simple as that. Preaching must be simple. Not simplistic, but simple. Not to dazzle the greatest minds in the audience, but to inform the least. 

As if Providence wished to reinforce the point, I went into the toilet of a local restaurant to see a poster on the wall with the caption 'To make the simple complex is commonplace; to make the complex simple, awesomely simple, is creativity'. 

The lesson from ICRC? Rejoice in the worldwide community that commits to the confessional doctrines of the Reformation. And start preaching simply. 

Posted September 4, 2013 @ 5:30 AM by Iain D Campbell
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