Monday, August 22, 2011

Preaching and Teaching Question


Is a preacher and teacher the same office?


Good question. As a person of a "free church" background I am familiar with the offices of the church as being pastor and deacon. Down south we often call the pastor "preacher". This makes it simple. Southern Baptist quote the "Baptist Faith and Message" as their statement of faith that declares two offices in the church, pastor and deacon. Many an argument has been started if you call a pastor an "elder" or if you prefer to have a board of elders. Elders usually rule a church. Most Baptist churches have a pastor/preacher and a deacon board to provide servant leadership in a congregational led system. Yes preacher/pastor, maybe with a different name though, is an office and a spiritual gift in anyone's view of church government. You will get different answers from people with different church backgrounds. Is a pastor also a teacher? Yes. I understand Scripture definitely has set this president. Teaching is a gift and the teacher has a greater responsibility. James 3:1 tells us this "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." If you have a large church staff in a big church it can be wise to have a minister in charge of education. But the preacher /pastor is still also a teacher. Church offices are viewed much differently by our many Christian faith traditions. I think pastor/preacher and deacons are the building blocks of church government. I also think that the New Testament gives leeway to churches to establish their church governance determined by their situation. Mega churches, large, small and persecuted home churches in Christian oppressive countries function differently. Again, I am a free church person. I understand that Scripture gives us some level of adaptability.

Getting back to your question- Are preacher and teacher the same office? Well, all preachers are teachers. Not all teachers are preachers. Teacher's are not usually considered an office in the church today.

What is preaching? My preaching definition is "With intellect and passion preaching is presenting the gospel for a response of devotion or conversion by the hearer." The gospel is that through the perfect life, death, burial and Resurrection of Christ that He has paid for the sins of all who repent and believe this good news. We receive forgiveness, eternal life. peace with God and the righteousness of Christ as He took our punishment for breaking the laws of God in our sinful lives.

Teaching is breaking down the Scripture to present the message that the author, the Holy Spirit, intended it for our use and application. We are taught to be changed and apply the Scripture to our life and for ministry to others.

The Lord gave us gifts and offices. We have no Apostles now in the church. Apostles were those who saw and were established by Christ to be the foundation of the New Testament church. We have no prophets in the way that was given before the Scriptures were complete. No man can give a prophecy that is extra-biblical, that is not supported by the Bible, and claim it to be from God today. Evangelists give the message. Pastors are asked to do the work of an evangelist. I think churches today could benefit from using a staff evangelist. Here is the list of offices and gifts given the church in the New Testament church.
Ephesians 4:11(ESV) "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,"

Jesus was obviously a preacher and teacher.

Matthew 11:1 (ESV) "When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities."

The Apostles were preachers and teachers.

Acts 5:42(ESV) "42And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."

Even in the New Testament church pastors were preachers and teachers.
1 Timothy 5:17(ESV) "17Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching."

Though others can preach this is a duty of the pastor or Shepard. This is why a pastor is often called a preacher.
Romans 12:5-7(ESV) "5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;"

Again, we have the full revelation of God until Christ comes again in the Bible.
Do not be hating on preaching. God chose it as the main way to change the world.
I feel today prophecy is preaching. Beware the prophet who is getting the "special" revelation from God. As R.C. Sproul said "God had one son and he made Him a preacher." Preaching is of utmost importance to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:20(ESV) "Do not despise prophecies,"

Commenting on 1 Thessalonians 5:20, John Calvin wrote,
"By the term prophesying I do not mean the gift of foretelling the future, but as in 1 Corinthians 14:3 the science of the interpretation of Scripture, so that a prophet is the interpreter of the divine will... Let us understand prophesying to mean the interpretation of Scripture applied to the present need."
I agree with respected Bible teacher Kenneth Gangel who says "The gift of prophecy is congregational preaching which explains and applies God's [written] revelation."

Preaching is one of the things a pastor does. He also teaches. Others can preach and teach at times. Women, men and teenagers can preach at appropriate times to appropriate groups.
Preaching and teaching, two gifts the one who holds the office of pastor should have. Gifted by the Lord lay people can preach and teach at the appropriate time and to the appropriate people. The Lord has called Pastor/Preachers who also teach to lead the church. The Lord ha called others to teach in the life of the church.

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