Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Piper on the "Bible-oriented" preacher

In a recent post, John Piper compared the "entertainment-oriented" preacher with the "Bible-oriented" preacher:

The Bible-oriented preacher wants the congregation to know that his words, if they have any abiding worth, are in accord with God's words. He wants this to be obvious to them. That is part of his humility and his authority. Therefore, he constantly tries to show the people that his ideas are coming from the Bible. He is hesitant to go too far toward points that are not demonstrable from the Bible.

His stories and illustrations are constrained and reined in by his hesitancy to lead the consciousness of his hearers away from the sense that this message is based on and expressive of what the Bible says. A sense of submission to the Bible and a sense that the Bible alone has words of true and lasting significance for our people mark the Bible-oriented preacher, but not the entertainment-oriented preacher.

People leave the preaching of the Bible-oriented preacher with a sense that the Bible is supremely authoritative and important and wonderfully good news. They feel less entertained than struck at the greatness of God and the weighty power of his word.


MICHAEL said...

The Holy Bible alone OR The Holy Bible Plus Oral Tradition?

Matthew 23:2-3 - chair of Moses; observe whatever they tell you (Moses chair was a prefigurement of the chair of St. Peter.)
Mark 13:31 - Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words won't
Mark 16:15 - go to the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature
John 12:25 - not everything Jesus said was recorded in Scripture
Acts 20:35 - sayings of Jesus were not recorded in the Gospels
Romans 10:17 - faith comes from what is heard
1 Corinthians 11:2 - commends them for following Apostolic tradition
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 - being saved if you hold fast to the word I preached
2 Thessalonians 2:15 - hold fast to traditions, whether oral or by letter
2 Timothy 1:13 - follow my sound words; guard the truth
2 Timothy 2:2 - what you heard entrust to faithful men
1 Peter 1:25 - God's eternal word equals the word preached to you
2 Peter 1:20 - no prophecy is a matter of private interpretation
2 Peter 3:15-16 - Paul's letters can be difficult to grasp and interpret
St. Athanasius (360AD) - let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian.... (Four Letters to Serapion of Thmius 1, 28)
Origen (230AD) - "The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession, from the Apostles, and remains in the Churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as truth which is in no way in variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition." (Fundamental Doctrines 1, preface, 2.)

Woody Woodward said...

For supportive logic, I would propose that these “ear tickling” preachers may begin with one or two at the max, handpicked verses that may “suggest” or may be interpreted they support a point trying to be espoused to the congregation. But of course, that point has to be politically correct and the supportive verse couldn’t dare be suggested of or be interpreted as harsh or cruel or intolerant of other religions, or overly sensitive social issues like abortion or alternative life styles. These “Bible oriented” preacher will never speak of man’s total depravity, God’s wrath, His vengeance or His imminent judgment. These topics are taboo from the pulpit, and not even whispered among congregants.

Reepicheep said...

This post wasn't intended to start a debate over the Pope's authority- which is essentially what every debate about Scripture comes down to when talking to a Romanist.

I always feel better thinking of 122 Biblically literate, Reformed Divines coming to conclusions in counsel as compared to the medieval Papacy inventing its own constructs.

Find a different place to debate this matter. I'll leave it with a few key sections from the first chapter of the WCF-

I. ... Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical;so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated in to the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

X. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

Roger Mann said...

A great man of God once bravely, and rightly, said:

"I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen." (Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms)

Since various popes and councils throughout history "have frequently erred and contradicted each other," it's quite obvious that the Scripture alone -- which "cannot be broken" (John 10:35) or err -- must be the "supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest."

By the way, here's a "sentence" that we can rest in:

"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped...whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8)

"There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God." (WCF 25.6)

Reepicheep said...

Amen Roger.