Why Protestants Preach
July 31, 2007
Protestants preach because God uses His Word as the means by which He calls together His people under the saving work of Christ. Preaching is the means by which God’s unfolding plan of redemption is declared to all those who have ears to hear. Preaching is a community conditioned activity. That is, it helps avoid the chaos of private interpretation. Preaching helps us remember that Scripture is interpreted in the context of the gathered people of God. There are no lone rangers when it comes to a right interpretation of God’s Word. Faithful preachers will spend hours each week reading good commentaries and researching what the church has historically affirmed about a given text of Scripture. This helps both preacher and hearers to have confidence that what is being preached is not the latest fad or the result of a “newly enlightened” interpretation.
In an article in the March/April issue of Modern Reformation magazine Michael Horton writes:
“The Word of God is not only a canon that regulates our beliefs and practices, but…it is actually alive, accomplishing everything God intends. While upholding the reliability and authority of Scripture, conservative Evangelicalism has tended to reduce God’s Word to a sourcebook for timeless doctrinal and ethical laws, missing the crucial point that the Bible itself underscores from Genesis to Revelation: namely, that God’s speaking is acting, and this acting is not only descriptive but creative. God’s Word is authoritative not only because of what it is (God’s utterance), but because of what it does (God’s utterance).
“The Word of God written and preached is not simply legally authoritative and binding, but is the primary means of grace, through which the Spirit ordinarily creates communion with Christ and therefore the communion of saints: ekklesia. In other words, in this conception, the Word is not merely something that stands over us us. It is also “the implanted word” (James 1:21) that “abides in you” (I John 2:14), and is to “dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:16).”
Protestants preach because we still believe I Peter 1:23-25:
“You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable see, through the living and enduring Word of God. For ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower fails, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.’ That word is the good news that was announced to you.”
That Word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.