Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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listen to the Word an old diary entry from December 4, 2008

It is 3:47 PM Thursday afternoon. I located some food to eat so now I am doing alright. I cleaned the kitchen while I was at it. I have been reading two books on Christian preaching lately. I use to believe I was called to preach the Good News. I remember years ago when I got saved "born again" I did not think much about preaching. When I first started walking with the Lord back in the Summer of 1970 Richmond Calif. I was a Jesus Freak. I remember going to Bible studies taught by older Christian brothers "elders". Back in my Jesus Freak days I was a Pentecostal type. My religion was all emotion, no solid intellectual understanding of the Christian Faith.

The preaching I sat under from about 1970 till about 1975 was basically man-centered. The theology behind the preaching I was exposed to was Arminianism Pre-Mill. Dispensationalism. I do remember these preachers seeking to preach the biblical text, but their doctrinal convictions determined how they interpreted the Bible.

I came into the Reformed Faith (historical Calvinism) around 1976 by reading the old 17th century English Puritans. I joined a small Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Berkeley Calif. where I was exposed to textual preaching. The minister of this OPC preached books of the Bible. The minister preached verse by verse and then drew application out of the text. The sermons only lasted 25 minutes but they were full of godly wisdom "biblical religion."

I was working on the staff of the Richmond Rescue Mission around the time I joined the OPC. I had to often exhort at Mission services because no one would show up to lead the evening Mission services. I always had something to share with the Mission folks because I was always reading something. I would share what I had learned in reading the old 17th century English Puritan preachers. I thought back then that I was out to defend the Faith from false teachers who taught Arminianism and Pre. Mill. Dispensationalism-which got me into hot water with the Mission because they were all Arminians and believed in Pre.-Mill. Dispensationalism. Also I got into trouble for preaching against Pentecostalism. The Mission received their money support from all these Christian groups, so I was often attacked for being so out spoken against what I believed to be false religion. (I still believe american christianity preaches easy believism). My view of preaching back in the 70's and 80's was one of being a fiery prophet seeking to Feel the power of the Holy Spirit come over me. I was always waiting to Feel the divine unction. I believe true preaching had to be done In the Spirit and had to be doctrinally sound according to historical Calvinism as seen for example in the Westminster Standards.

I left the Richmond Resue Mission around 1976 maybe 1977. I decided to go to college and then to seminary to educate myself to be a Presbyterian teaching elder "gospel preacher". To make a long story extremely short I never got a call from a Presbyterian church to become their teaching elder. I never received a call to preach the gospel to the sainthood. I went to Bible College (3 years) and then we went to seminary (3 and half years). After seminary we moved to Houston TX where I did my minister internship (two years) and then nothing-no open door into the gospel field to gather the harvest of elect souls.

My view of preaching did not change until about a couple of years ago when I realized that my view of preaching was centered on preaching Reformed theology and not the Lord Jesus Christ or the Bible. Now I see what is important is to preach the Bible and not a theological system (or a Christian spirituality).

Right now I would like to go to a church where the teaching elder just reads the Bible. I do not believe one needs to go to Bible College or Seminary to understand the Bible. I also do not believe the church is a channel of grace (or that preaching is a channel of grace). Are there men called to be Teaching Elders "preachers"? Yes but they are to preach and teach only the Bible.

I also think there should be more silence in a worship service and less speech. We need to sit before the Lord with open hearts. We need to listen to the Word.

I am for apostolic New Covenant simplicity. No priesthood. My model for a preacher is the apostle Paul. I think the apostle Paul is a good model to follow if we want to know what a true gospel preacher looks like. Well more could be written but these are some of my thoughts. Yea it is a free country.

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