In preaching, God comes and Speaks to people.

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he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I listened to the latest sermon by Joel Beeke yesterday, where he quoted Calvin and brought out this view of Calvin's on preaching:
...Calvin's emphasis here was flowing out of his high view of preaching because he believed that in preaching God comes and speaks to people. In fact, Calvin had such a high view of preaching--it is scary actually--but what he actually taught was that as long as the minister doesn't contradict the Word--when he contradicts the Word it is just the minister talking--but when he doesn't contradict the Word, it is God himself speaking to the congregation as if he were speaking the very Bible, the very Word of God.

So that Calvin said to his people, "When you come to church, as long as I am speaking the Word of God and I am a duly ordained minister and this is God's duly appointed to gather in the assembly of the congregation, God himself is speaking to you.

How in the world can that be when I am a mere man?

"Well," Calvin said, "There are really two ministers speaking at every sermon. There is the external minister who is the mere man, who is speaking the words. And there is the internal minister who is the Holy Spirit who is taking the words and addressing them to the minds and souls of people."

And so preaching, Calvin says, is the organ, the instrument and the authority that the Spirit uses in his saving work of illuminating, converting and sealing sinners. Therefore wherever the gospel is preached to us, it is as if God himself has come in the midst of us. There was an inward efficacy of the Holy Spirit when he sheds forth power upon hearers that he may embrace a sermon by faith...

Beeke then goes on to say that the Puritans were like-minded:

...One of them [the Puritans] calls the 66 books of the Bible, "The library of the Holy Spirit." And he says, "Preaching is God speaking to us through that library as a father reads a book or speaks to his children."

You see, God gives us his Word as a Word of truth and as a Word of power. So it is very critical that our children know when they come to church God is speaking to them through his library and that therefore it has the authority of God himself and is absolutely critical that we listen to what he has to say.

This is from a PDF transcript of the sermonTeaching Children to Listen, which was from SermonAudio. It was preached on Jan 4, 2009 at Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation.
<http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=14092057330>
 

rescuedbyLove

Puritan Board Junior
I listened to the latest sermon by Joel Beeke yesterday, where he quoted Calvin and brought out this view of Calvin's on preaching:
...Calvin's emphasis here was flowing out of his high view of preaching because he believed that in preaching God comes and speaks to people. In fact, Calvin had such a high view of preaching--it is scary actually--but what he actually taught was that as long as the minister doesn't contradict the Word--when he contradicts the Word it is just the minister talking--but when he doesn't contradict the Word, it is God himself speaking to the congregation as if he were speaking the very Bible, the very Word of God.

So that Calvin said to his people, "When you come to church, as long as I am speaking the Word of God and I am a duly ordained minister and this is God's duly appointed to gather in the assembly of the congregation, God himself is speaking to you.

How in the world can that be when I am a mere man?

"Well," Calvin said, "There are really two ministers speaking at every sermon. There is the external minister who is the mere man, who is speaking the words. And there is the internal minister who is the Holy Spirit who is taking the words and addressing them to the minds and souls of people."

And so preaching, Calvin says, is the organ, the instrument and the authority that the Spirit uses in his saving work of illuminating, converting and sealing sinners. Therefore wherever the gospel is preached to us, it is as if God himself has come in the midst of us. There was an inward efficacy of the Holy Spirit when he sheds forth power upon hearers that he may embrace a sermon by faith...

Beeke then goes on to say that the Puritans were like-minded:

...One of them [the Puritans] calls the 66 books of the Bible, "The library of the Holy Spirit." And he says, "Preaching is God speaking to us through that library as a father reads a book or speaks to his children."

You see, God gives us his Word as a Word of truth and as a Word of power. So it is very critical that our children know when they come to church God is speaking to them through his library and that therefore it has the authority of God himself and is absolutely critical that we listen to what he has to say.

This is from a PDF transcript of the sermonTeaching Children to Listen, which was from SermonAudio. It was preached on Jan 4, 2009 at Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation.
<http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=14092057330>

I heart Beeke.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Does not God come and speak also anytime the Gospel is clearly presented? Much of the spread of the faith happens out of the church and through dialogue rather than the narrow act of preaching on a Sunday service.

That being said, I also love to read Beeke too.
 

Jesus is my friend

Puritan Board Junior
I listened to the latest sermon by Joel Beeke yesterday, where he quoted Calvin and brought out this view of Calvin's on preaching:
...Calvin's emphasis here was flowing out of his high view of preaching because he believed that in preaching God comes and speaks to people. In fact, Calvin had such a high view of preaching--it is scary actually--but what he actually taught was that as long as the minister doesn't contradict the Word--when he contradicts the Word it is just the minister talking--but when he doesn't contradict the Word, it is God himself speaking to the congregation as if he were speaking the very Bible, the very Word of God.

So that Calvin said to his people, "When you come to church, as long as I am speaking the Word of God and I am a duly ordained minister and this is God's duly appointed to gather in the assembly of the congregation, God himself is speaking to you.

How in the world can that be when I am a mere man?

"Well," Calvin said, "There are really two ministers speaking at every sermon. There is the external minister who is the mere man, who is speaking the words. And there is the internal minister who is the Holy Spirit who is taking the words and addressing them to the minds and souls of people."

And so preaching, Calvin says, is the organ, the instrument and the authority that the Spirit uses in his saving work of illuminating, converting and sealing sinners. Therefore wherever the gospel is preached to us, it is as if God himself has come in the midst of us. There was an inward efficacy of the Holy Spirit when he sheds forth power upon hearers that he may embrace a sermon by faith...

Beeke then goes on to say that the Puritans were like-minded:

...One of them [the Puritans] calls the 66 books of the Bible, "The library of the Holy Spirit." And he says, "Preaching is God speaking to us through that library as a father reads a book or speaks to his children."

You see, God gives us his Word as a Word of truth and as a Word of power. So it is very critical that our children know when they come to church God is speaking to them through his library and that therefore it has the authority of God himself and is absolutely critical that we listen to what he has to say.

This is from a PDF transcript of the sermonTeaching Children to Listen, which was from SermonAudio. It was preached on Jan 4, 2009 at Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation.
<http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=14092057330>

Wow,I've never heard anything said this way before,and that's really sad,If only the preacher that had influneced me so much in the past had this high view of scripture,My Theology would have been much more real,I dont know what to say, those statements so powerful yet so simple a child could understand,If only a preacher can grasp this not only would his doctrine be correct be he would speak the Word with confidence,and Lord write these truths in my my heart that I would really love you with everything!

"For He whom God has sent utters the words of God,for He gives the Spirit without measure" John 3:35 (ESV)

P.S I loved the book "Living for God's Glory" By Dr. Beeke
 
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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Does not God come and speak also anytime the Gospel is clearly presented? Much of the spread of the faith happens out of the church and through dialogue rather than the narrow act of preaching on a Sunday service.

That being said, I also love to read Beeke too.

The narrow act of preaching on Sundays?!?! This isn't a narrow act at all. When we come to worship together we are coming into His presence to worship Him. The chief reason for Sunday worship is to glorify Him through worship. That isn't narrow in any sense of the word. You're right that the Gospel is spread through missions etc and we are commanded to do so, but that isn't the same as the Church coming together to worship Him. I have to humbly disagree with you. That said, I appreciate all the work you and your family do in the mission field.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
"but when he doesn't contradict the Word, it is God himself speaking to the congregation as if he were speaking the very Bible, the very Word of God."

You seriously believe this? Non cononical words here (I assume it is more than just reading scripture text) are equal to the canon?

How is this not heresy?
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
"but when he doesn't contradict the Word, it is God himself speaking to the congregation as if he were speaking the very Bible, the very Word of God."

You seriously believe this? Non cononical words here (I assume it is more than just reading scripture text) are equal to the canon?

How is this not heresy?

How would that be heresy? When man speaks the truths of the Bible which is God spoken Word to us, then the Holy Spirit speaks through him. Do you think that mankind is so intelligent that he could figure out Biblical truths without the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit uses the man to audibly speak His truths. Why would that be heresy?
 

Rangerus

Puritan Board Junior
"but when he doesn't contradict the Word, it is God himself speaking to the congregation as if he were speaking the very Bible, the very Word of God."

You seriously believe this? Non cononical words here (I assume it is more than just reading scripture text) are equal to the canon?

How is this not heresy?

when God speaks to us, He doesn't always quote scripture.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
3rd Division of the 1st chapter of the 2nd Helvetic Confession

The Second Helvetic Confession - The PuritanBoard

THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD IS THE WORD OF GOD. Wherefore when this Word of God is now preached in the church by preachers lawfully called, we believe that the very Word of God is proclaimed, and received by the faithful; and that neither any other Word of God is to be invented nor is to be expected from heaven: and that now the Word itself which is preached is to be regarded, not the minister that preaches; for even if he be evil and a sinner, nevertheless the Word of God remains still true and good.
******************

Only to what is, in fact, the true and faithful exposition of the Word of God does the Spirit add utterance.

There is mystery here, but there is such a thing as "preaching in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power." And that is a gift not merely attached to those Apostles directly inspired. But those who in fulfilling their lawful vocation to the Ministry do succeed them, and preach THEIR WORDS, God is not silent in His church.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
"but when he doesn't contradict the Word, it is God himself speaking to the congregation as if he were speaking the very Bible, the very Word of God."

You seriously believe this? Non cononical words here (I assume it is more than just reading scripture text) are equal to the canon?

How is this not heresy?

I do seriously believe this. And if I didn't, I don't know why I'd go to church--I've never been to a church that just reads from Scripture. I also think how we accept the preacher expounding on the text is similar to why I accept hymns being sung in church. I believe that we are allowed to express the truths of Scripture in exposition. I do not think we would canonize a sermon, but I do believe that it is God bringing us His Word.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't want to come off as argumentative but I find this view to be scary and yes, heretical or at least erroneous.

To say that God anoints teaching, blesses teaching, uses the preacher to explain a text, yes.

But NOTHING- absolutely not one word- outside the canon of scripture is canonical and on the level of scripture. Innerancy and infallibility belongs only to scripture.

"therefore it has the authority of God himself" I am sorry but the preacher's interpretation and exposition of a text does NOT have the authority of God himself. Only the text does. Not the human addition. Look at all the debates right here on the PB between preachers who are godly men and love the bible....you are going to say that their sermon carries the authority of God himself? When two of them might be preaching on Sunday with two entirely different opinions about some finer theological point? Calvin didn't even believe in a special Sabbath day, nor did plenty of other guys back then. That's only one debate out of many.

I was in the Charismatic movement long enough to see the destruction that this doctrine teaches....that the preacher ( or prophet) is the anointed infallible words of God himself and connot be questioned.

Most emphatically NO. That authority belongs only to the bible and no other words at all. Every human addition must be regarded as possibly flawed or incomplete.
 

Mark Hettler

Puritan Board Freshman
Gee, if I want to hear the words of man exalted to the status of the the very words of God, I might as well go back to the charismatic movement. At least there, words of man that are intended to be understood as coming directly from God are prefaced by "Thus saith the Lord" so there's no ambiguity.
 

brianeschen

Puritan Board Junior
I don't want to come off as argumentative but I find this view to be scary and yes, heretical or at least erroneous.

To say that God anoints teaching, blesses teaching, uses the preacher to explain a text, yes.

But NOTHING- absolutely not one word- outside the canon of scripture is canonical and on the level of scripture. Innerancy and infallibility belongs only to scripture.

"therefore it has the authority of God himself" I am sorry but the preacher's interpretation and exposition of a text does NOT have the authority of God himself. Only the text does. Not the human addition. Look at all the debates right here on the PB between preachers who are godly men and love the bible....you are going to say that their sermon carries the authority of God himself? When two of them might be preaching on Sunday with two entirely different opinions about some finer theological point? Calvin didn't even believe in a special Sabbath day, nor did plenty of other guys back then. That's only one debate out of many.

I was in the Charismatic movement long enough to see the destruction that this doctrine teaches....that the preacher ( or prophet) is the anointed infallible words of God himself and connot be questioned.

Most emphatically NO. That authority belongs only to the bible and no other words at all. Every human addition must be regarded as possibly flawed or incomplete.

Paul in Romans seems to be making the argument that when a preacher is preaching, people actually hear the Lord. See especially verse 14, which accurately could read, ". . . how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? . . . " Just because a preacher does not use the exact words of Scripture, it does not mean that he is not speaking God's word to the people.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Then why else would our pastors pray, "Let not me be seen, but You, Lord."

If you re-read the explanations of Calvin and Beeke, I don't think you'd have anything to fear. If what they are saying "does not contradict the word of God..." and they are ordained and called to be there, then they are bringing us God's word. Who do we think calls the pastor? If God has called them, they are his prophets.
 

ManleyBeasley

Puritan Board Junior
I would exhort our ex-charismatic brethren not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. This is not the same as the charismatic errors. This means that if the objective truth of the scripture is proclaimed, God the Holy Spirit is also proclaiming this truth to hearts. Without this there can be no effectual calling!
 

Mark Hettler

Puritan Board Freshman
I would exhort our ex-charismatic brethren not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. This is not the same as the charismatic errors. This means that if the objective truth of the scripture is proclaimed, God the Holy Spirit is also proclaiming this truth to hearts. Without this there can be no effectual calling!

I believe that. I thought I was hearing something different earlier in the thread, although I could have misunderstood. (It does happen.)
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
In Reformed Theology, rightly reading and teaching the Word of God (and rightly hearing it) are at the center of worshipping God, in private, family or public. I have come to understand this as a distinctive, we are actually worshipping God through His Word, which God has established as a primary way He wants us to worship Him.

This is why it is so important to carefully qualify those whom God has called to do so publicly- and why it is so important to organize the life of Christ's Church in a way that prioritizes that to be done.
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
While there are many things we can say about scripture that we can't say about a sermon (such as even the very word choices being inspired, and the entire delivery being infallible), perhaps one way to explain the idea on this thread, is that the purpose of the scriptures is to communicate certain ideas to us. So when a preacher puts those ideas into different words, they remain the same ideas. The preacher didn't make the ideas up, they came from the scriptures. These ideas are truth, and they are given by God for the salvation of our souls.

I have a two year old son, who is just starting to communicate verbally and memorize scripture, etc. Generally when we teach him, we don't use the actual words of scripture, but rather give an explanation on his level. So does my two year old hear the Word of God? Sure, exactly to the extent that we are faithful in our rephrasing of it. Similarly with missionaries giving God's word to natives in a language they lack fluency in.

Anytime you can say that a preacher is giving people the Word of God, you should be able to trace the idea he's communicating back to its source in the scriptures. (If it's not from the scriptures, then I suppose it's just the preacher speaking.)

That said, there is a lot to be said for reading/quoting scripture verbatim in teaching in preaching, which of course all faithful preachers do. That way there's less chance of messing it up.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
Calvin on preaching

Here's how Calvin expressed this thought in his Institutes...

John Calvin (1509-1564): Those who think the authority of the Word is dragged down by the baseness of the men called to teach it disclose their own ungratefulness. For, among the many excellent gifts with which God has adorned the human race, it is a singular privilege that he deigns to consecrate to himself the mouths and tongues of men in order that his voice may resound in them. Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, ed. John T. McNeill and trans. Ford Lewis Battles, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, reprinted 1977), Book IV.i.5, p. 1018.

DTK
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I have a two year old son, who is just starting to communicate verbally and memorize scripture, etc. Generally when we teach him, we don't use the actual words of scripture, but rather give an explanation on his level. So does my two year old hear the Word of God? Sure, exactly to the extent that we are faithful in our rephrasing of it. Similarly with missionaries giving God's word to natives in a language they lack fluency in.
Yes, that's called "catechism."

Good Job, Andrew!
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Brother Manley, I appreciate this sentence: "if the objective truth of the scripture is proclaimed, God the Holy Spirit is also proclaiming this truth to hearts. Without this there can be no effectual calling!"

The key word is IF.

IF is a big word here.

We had the sad opportunity to read the most excellent, well done report by the PCA General Assembly on Federal Vision. Why sad? Because it had to be written in the first place! Many pastors with years in the PCA, who had vowed allegiance to Reformed truths at their ordination, had strayed into works righteousness...and I might add, dragging their churches along with them in many instances.

We listened to John Piper's most excellent audio on this last year. He was given a sabbatical and spent a significant part of it on one subject. That subject was trying to understand how fine men he had known who had been teaching Reformed doctrine for OVER 3O YEARS!!!! had strayed into Federal Vision error.

Look, you cannot just say a sermon is the word of God and has that authority unless you include Manley's if clause. IF objective truth is being preached. IF. You must not assume it.

Acts 17:11

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.


To be honest here, I have so much respect and trust for own pastor that when I listen to his sermon I listen as if it was solid truth. I don't get analytical, or sit there suspiciously listening for flaws. I go to church expecting the Lord to be glorified in a good sermon and to get my mind renewed rightly. (and the fact that our humble pastor has openly invited some congregants to talk to him if they ever think he is in error helps. If he said his preaching was the perfect authoritative word of God I don't know if we would even be there. I would want to leave. But he knows he is a fallen human subject to error and has invited correction, knowing he can stray.)

I'll say it again, nothing but the canon is infallible. And maybe there are some semantics here and I misunderstand what Calvin and Beeke were saying in context, and Manley's post represents what is meant. Maybe I have seen so much error that I am too cautious. But pray fervently for your preaching pastor and never for one second let yourself think that he isn't capable of deception and error. We all are. At least in the PCA it has happened :p ( no comments from the OPC allowed! :lol: )
 
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