To what extent the layman may preach or teach

AReformedFundamentalist

Puritan Board Freshman
I have searched the forum but haven't found anything (I might have missed it) which talks about this specific issue. I'm a layman who's been studying the Scriptures and Theology. I've started a YouTube channel where I mainly read books and articles which I believe are in line with confessional orthodox reformed Protestantism, hoping these recordings will help lead people to the truth. These books are all written by ordained ministers. I have refrained from almost all teaching because I don't know if I am allowed to do that. My question is; to what extent may or may not the layman teach the Word of God. People like C.S. Lewis come to mind who was a layman and seems to have taught. I wonder therefore if it is morally, biblically good to teach or write (give commentary) on the Holy Scriptures. I've also given thought to start doing street gospel outreach work (think of street preaching for example). Would this be something I could start doing whilst not being ordained? I've been struggling with this question for the past year or so now...

Thanks for your help in advance.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Preaching in the Pulpit and teaching, in general, is reserved for the Elders of your church. This type of designation has been defined by most denominations as teaching/preaching during the worship service.

You should speak with the elders within your denomination about contexts outside the worship service. Sharing the gospel through evangelism, street witnessing, and preaching in public is governed by your denomination. I am a seminary student and the elders at my church are okay with me preaching at nursing homes, jails, and drug rehabilitation centers. I am not permitted to do a benediction or preach on Sunday.
 

AReformedFundamentalist

Puritan Board Freshman
Preaching in the Pulpit and teaching, in general, is reserved for the Elders of your church. This type of designation has been defined by most denominations as teaching/preaching during the worship service.

You should speak with the elders within your denomination about contexts outside the worship service. Sharing the gospel through evangelism, street witnessing, and preaching in public is governed by your denomination. I am a seminary student and the elders at my church are okay with me preaching at nursing homes, jails, and drug rehabilitation centers. I am not permitted to do a benediction or preach on Sunday.
Thanks for your reply brother. Of course I am aware that I am not allowed to preach in any official church assembly. It's very good to know that the rules around this differ from denomination to denomination. I'll ask the elders at my church what they think. God bless!
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Preaching is not permitted for laymen. This includes street-preaching.
I read Mark 3 in my daily reading this morning and this stood out: “And he (Jesus) ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,” - Mark 3:14. Men must be ordained to preach by Christ (now His church). Laymen preaching is unscriptural. Regarding teaching, there is more leeway but everything should be under the oversight of your local session. At our church we allow laymen to teach in monthly "dinner & doctrine" time in our pastor's home to identify gifts. This is done again, under the oversight of the session.
If you have a desire for preaching, allow your session to ascertain if you are duly gifted and called and then go through the proper channels of the church courts to seek ordination. I commend your desire to evangelize. 1) Encourage your minister to open air preach. 2) Accompany him and pray, pass out tracts, and engage passersby with the gospel. 3) Encourage other members to go along and do # 2 with you also.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Here are a couple of blog posts my pastor has written on open air preaching.
https://christcodeandkids.com/2021/05/19/open-air-preaching/
https://christcodeandkids.com/2022/07/18/evangelism-and-covenant-children/

Our congregation goes out bi-monthly to evangelize and open air preach. As lay member you can still contribute significantly to the evangelize efforts so please do not be discouraged. We need more reformed congregations evangelizing. Do not believe the hyper-Calvinists who state only ministers may evangelize.
 

jw

j
I commend the following two pieces related to the subject for your consideration:

BM Palmer - https://static1.squarespace.com/static/590be125ff7c502a07752a5b/t/5ed1ced725a6bf670bb4bd51/1590808281847/Palmer,+Benjamin+Morgan,+Lay+Evangelism+and+the+Young+Men’s+Christian+Association.pdf

RL Dabney -

You may also find these related threads informative:



 

frog

Puritan Board Freshman
I have not yet read those two pdfs that have been linked, but often when someone objects to "Only ministers may preach" they usually will quote from Phil. 1:18 or Luke 9:49-50. Where the latter says:
John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50 ESV)
Here Jesus' injunction is to explicitly not stop them (admittedly it's from casting out demons). So the one objecting would apply the principle and say thus do not stop the laymen preaching. How would you respond to this?
 

AReformedFundamentalist

Puritan Board Freshman
Preaching is not permitted for laymen. This includes street-preaching.
I read Mark 3 in my daily reading this morning and this stood out: “And he (Jesus) ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,” - Mark 3:14. Men must be ordained to preach by Christ (now His church). Laymen preaching is unscriptural. Regarding teaching, there is more leeway but everything should be under the oversight of your local session. At our church we allow laymen to teach in monthly "dinner & doctrine" time in our pastor's home to identify gifts. This is done again, under the oversight of the session.
If you have a desire for preaching, allow your session to ascertain if you are duly gifted and called and then go through the proper channels of the church courts to seek ordination. I commend your desire to evangelize. 1) Encourage your minister to open air preach. 2) Accompany him and pray, pass out tracts, and engage passersby with the gospel. 3) Encourage other members to go along and do # 2 with you also.
Thank you for your replies brother. If ordination is what it takes to do these things I shall from this day forward have this as my goal. God bless.
 

AReformedFundamentalist

Puritan Board Freshman
I commend the following two pieces related to the subject for your consideration:

BM Palmer - https://static1.squarespace.com/static/590be125ff7c502a07752a5b/t/5ed1ced725a6bf670bb4bd51/1590808281847/Palmer,+Benjamin+Morgan,+Lay+Evangelism+and+the+Young+Men’s+Christian+Association.pdf

RL Dabney -

You may also find these related threads informative:



Thank you very much for your help brother. I shall read the PDF files you've linked. God bless.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I was thinking of Acts 8:4 in connection with this. While Saul was persecuting the church "they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."

It seems that in some sense we are all preachers. But there is also a special sense where an ordained minister brings the word saying "not I, but thus says the Lord." I'm very interested in hearing more thoughts.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
It seems that in some sense we are all preachers. But there is also a special sense where an ordained minister brings the word saying "not I, but thus says the Lord." I'm very interested in hearing more thoughts.
This special sense is applicable during the worship service on Sunday, it seems more nuanced when you leave Sunday worship.

Not address this to you Logan, but others:
There isn't a debate that Elders of the church teach and preach according to the scriptures. However, breaking this out further, to say that a lay member couldn't street preach. Does this mean they are not allowed to teach either? How would they share the gospel with anybody? Speaking truth is teaching.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Preaching is preaching - the setting matters not. Whether indoors or outdoors, preaching is reserved for men approved for this office. But as I am a peon, hear from those with far greater knowledge than myself, the Westminster Divines:

WLC Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
A. The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted, and also duly approved and called to that office.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Word of God is to be preached
We need to define what preaching is to continue this discussion.

What is the difference between Preaching, Teaching, and sharing the gospel with a stranger? How do the Westminster divines define it? In light of this question how would you answer the below question based on Q.156?

Q156: Is the word of God to be read by all?
A156: Although all are not to be permitted to read the word publicly to the congregation,[1] yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves,[2] and with their families:[3] to which end, the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.[4]

Based on Q.156 are we only supposed to read the word but not teach out children? Is teaching the word reserved to the office of Elder only? Would this include teaching our covenant children?
 
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