Jubilee 98 - Preaching - Performance

Jubilee 98 - Preaching - Performance: I have tried to listen to keynote speeches coming out of Jubilee 97 and my male brain goes to sleep. My computer gives me more Christ Words in an hour than all of the Jubilee 98 preachers. Keynoters are chosen to collect all of the "at loose ends" wandering "to and fro" looking for the lost kingdom. Relax, Jesus said that the kingdom is within you so that no person is able to judge whether it has come or not.

And if you need a worship faciliator (manipulator) to help "lead you into the presence of God," relax. Paul said that "He is not far from any of us." I have found Him down in the rural holler far removed from the need for urban tunes and musical styles to find the lost God.

This musical preaching style where "me" and "you" and "meeting your needs" are more important than what Christ has said agrees perfectly with the many Old Testament passages which connect music with ignoring the word of God.

It would be difficult to imagine a liberal theologian singing, dancing, playing instruments or any other ecstatic act in the belief that they will somehow come into contact with their god. However, liberal theology has developed from the subjective mind. The formulators of such doctrine believed that their "left-brained" rationalism has arrived at a "right-brained" view of God. The proof that liberalism prevails is contained in the very sermons themelves. Talk about me, talke about you, talk about Philosophy, talk about modern experience, talk about the urban church outgrowing rural songs, but never deliver the "Word as it has been delivered." It must be enhanced so that the little people can understand.

MOST CHRISTIANS TODAY call the main Sunday morning hour "the worship service." This is dead wrong for several reasons! Though worship is part of what the congregation should do together, "teaching" is to be the driving activity of the Local Church. Too, an I must be careful here, though worship is for all -- male and female -- the way it's carried out today, often

it's a FEMININIZATION of the church service.

Whereas, teaching is VIRILE and MEATY and speaks head-on to males.

All style, little content:

"According to Marshall McLuhan in his theory of communication, hot communication is communication that has content, that appeals to men and moves men through the mind on the basis of that content.

Cool communication is a kind of personal first-order experience wherein one is moved but without any content passing through his mind, his reason. Click for more.

"Father John Culkin, Director of the Communications at Fordham University, a follower of McLuhan, says this: 'Gutenberg came and the Reformation came. Electronics comes and the ecumenical movement comes.' He means that the ecumenical movement is rooted for its unity in the midst of a contentless situation, a situation that is completely cool and has nothing to do with objective doctrinal truth.

"Equally, the new existential theologians in our churches live only in the area of cool communication. They have denied content--content is not important to them...T.H. Huxley in 1890 saw that the day would come when theology would be separated from everything that has anything to do with fact and as such would never be open to challenge." (Schaeffer, Francis, The Church before the watching world, p. 68).

A Preaching performance as a profession developed from the Greek theater and was performed by those whom Paul said saw godliness as a means of financial gain. Dominant preachers and a dead, silent church go together. No wonder they need visiting preachers, musical worship teams and other devices to prop up a failed institution.

Jubilee 98 will look for those who can manipulate the minds to inculcate the dogma of the Jubilee Corporation--

According to Webster a keynote is: "The lowest basic note or tone of a musical scale, the basic idea of ruling principle, as of a speech, that sets forth the main line or policy."

Jubilee 98 flows from the wineskins notion that churches of Christ preachers are destructive to the kingdom of God. However, perhaps the whole problem could be solved if Jubilee 98 looked only for non-professional teachers who do not depend on being "key Billy Goat on top of the mountain" to get the biggest salary, a "cut of the take," and a full booking at retreats and youth meetings to sell their theology and their books on an ecuminical basis where ecumenical means: "We will take your money whatever your religious beliefs."

"The priests of the pagan temples had been paid from the purse of the Empire, but now Caesar was a Christian and the priests of Mars and Venus hastened to their baptisms.

For the first time in the history of the church, salaries were paid to Christians workers. Tradition has it that Constantine's mother was the first to give the money for the erection of a church building... All this (meetings in homes) was over now. The rags of persecution gave way to softer garments, and the church began to enjoy the feel of silk upon its flesh. Thus the Pergamos stage of church history came into being, the church was married to the world." (Barnhouse, D.G., Revelation, Zondervan, p. 52).

The world if filled with faithful gospel preachers whose motive is love for the truth and whose pay is subsistence. However, as in the early church, those trained in preaching performance of speaking, drama, singing, playing musical instruments or dancing saw "godliness as a means of financial gain." Because most of these forms were non-lethal battles between performers, most religious division is a battle over turf by the sensitives trying to be top billy goat who gets the girls.

Reminding us of Jubilee 98 and Marshall McLuhan's cool communication. William Barclay reminds us of the Feast of Tabernacles at the time of Jesus by comparing the contemporary style of preaching:

"They made their voices sweet with musical cadences and modulations of tone and echoed resonances. They thought not of what they were saying, but of how they were saying it. 

"Their thought might be poisonous so long as it was enveloped in honeyed words.  Philostratus tells us that Adrian, the sophist, had such a reputation in Rome, that when his messenger appeared with a notice that he was to lecture, the senate emptied and even the people at the games abandoned them to flock to hear him..

For instance, you have to have more patience than I to listen long enough to hear Max Lucado foul up Jubilee 97 and some of Jubilee 98 by denying the Biblical view of baptism-

"You might hear many poor wretches of sophists, shouting and abusing each other, and their disciples, as they call them, squabbling; and many writers of books reading their stupid compositions, and many poets singing their poems, and many jugglers (buffons) exhibiting their marvels, and many soothsayers giving the meaning of prodigies, and then a thousand rhetoricians twisting lawsuits, and no small number of traders driving their several trades.

"The Greeks were intoxicated with fine words; and to them the Christian preacher with his blunt message seemed a crude and uncultured figure, to be laughed at and ridiculed rather than to be listened to and respected. (Barclay, William, First Corinthians, p. 19-20)

Kitto would pour contempt on modern preachers who sell their seminars on everything from "marriage success" to "how to acquire spirituality." I am looking for one whose speech cures bad breath. Locals are ignored and the one who has "worked up" a commercial pitch are called in to read a verse or two out of the Bible and tell you what Paul really meant to say:

"Perhaps professor would be a rough modern equivalent to Sophist. It has a similar range from Professors of Greek to Professors of Phrenology and although some Professors research, all teach, and all are paid which was a great reproach to the Sophists.  Some of them were serious philosophers, educators or scholars; others only cheap-jacks, who professed to teach only the sublime art of getting on.  Did you want to improve your memory: Did you want to be a £1,000-a-year man?  Some Sophist would teach you--for a fee.  Sophists went from city to city, lecturing on their particular subject, some indeed undertaking to lecture on any subject, but always for a fee. (Kitto, The Greeks, p. 168).

To make the point, Paul worked when the congregation worked and he dialoged when they were not working. He told the churches: "If they will not work do not let them eat" from your hard-earned plate.

Sure, an ox eats while he is threshing but when the field is threshed he does not keep on until the grain is all gone. He moves on to the next field. Paul would say that the honest evangelist increases the harvest in white fields.

The modern preaching performance movement could not function without a charismatic leader who can, through anticipation and mind-altering devices cause someone to begin the tongue speaking "exercises." He depends on personal relationships "thicker than the blood of Christ." Like modern singing, preaching is often a charismatic affair where the preacher "soars away."

Kildahl says,

"It is not uncommon for linguists to be able to tell which prominent itinerant glossolalist has introduced a congregation to tongue-speaking. Relatively few men and women travel the tongue-speaking circuit. The glossolalic styles of Bennett, Bredesen, Christenson, du Plessis, Mjorud, and Stone are distinctive enough to be identifiable by observant linguists." ( Kildahl, John P., The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues, Harper and Row, 1972, p. 53).

The pattern has almost always been an authority figure who expects someone to exercise some phenomenon. An immature person often a child performs the exercise, others see this as proof of authority and repeat the condition, when one loses confidence in the preacher the phenomenon often stops and the person feels that they have been duped. A colonial period writer jokes about a preacher who was disappointed when a sermon did not get response because it worked on everyone else.

Like Pavlov's dogs, it has been pointed out that these men or women do not necessarily have to speak in tongues, get excited, or even suggest that others speak in tongues. The group is so conditioned that when the "guru" begins to speak a simple Biblical sermon the reflex action occurs and people begin to speak in tongues who could never have been induced to do so with a very powerful but less-known public figure. This is why, perhaps, that a select few men can rip off over a hundred million dollars a year from people. However, their are many more petty criminals whose take is substantial.

We need, therefore, to look at some of the conditions which ripped the preaching task from the hands of self-sacrificing men who had no charisma and placed it in the hands of men and women who can manipulate others.

In his discussion of the tongue speaking phenomenon in Corinth Bruner says:

"At a time when there is a rising protest against monologues and therefore sometimes monotonous "one man ministries' in the churches, and when it is complained increasingly that the preacher is one of the few remaining public figures whose formal remarks allow no public interrogation or discussion (even Presidents are subjected not to the discipline of public interview), it is perhaps in order for the churches to look here in Corinthians to their earliest structures. Perhaps the worship services should include or append a period of thoughtful discussion following the sermon--or sermons (v. 29)--in place of the often dull and unprofitable responsive readings before it and of some of the singing which seems to be often, at the conscious or mental level at least, low-level glossolalia with instrumental accompaniment." (Bruner, Frederick Dale, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, Eerdmans p. 300).

The Original Condition

When the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity the clergy built their pitiful little temple which brought tears to the eyes of the people who had worshiped Solomon's temple; but the common people went out into their communities and even Nehemiah's cursing them and pulling out their hair could not bring them back to support the Temple. While he called the people back to devotion to God many of the people returned--as had been prophesied--to a life which the prophets characterize as the harlot returning to the streets with her harp to solicit business. Many of the devout people built community schools (they were not "church houses") in which they could instruct themselves and their children in the Word. It is said that the people "abandoned the symbol in favor of the book."

In the Synagogues a course involved reading and explaining their Scriptures in three years. Connected to many of these synagogues was a school for teaching the Word to the children.

"The rabbi Simon ben Shetach, brother of the queen Salome Alexandra and the president of the Sanhedrin, opened the first beth ha-sefer, house of book, in Jerusalem. His example was followed, and little by little a whole system of public instruction came into existence. Some thirty years after the death of Christ, in about the year 64 A.D., trabbihe high priest Joshua ben Gamala promulgated what may be considered as the first educational legislation: there was nothing wanting--the parents were obliged to send their children to school, there were punishments for idle children and those too often absent." (Quoted in Wilson, Hermon O. and Womack, Morris M., Pillars of Faith, p. 192).

You can bet that this priest did not occupy the little boys with cut outs and paste ups when they were at home "surfing the internet."

Of the education of the youth, the Talmudic tractate Pirke Aboth, says that "At five he must begin the sacred studies; at ten he must set himself to learning the tradition; at thirteen he must know the whole Law of Yahweh and practice its requirements; and at fifteen years begin the perfecting of his knowledge." Paul attended such a school and then studied under Gamaliel.

Paul instructed Timothy to give himself to the public reading of the Scripture and to preaching. That is, he preaches to the outsider but he reads and explains what Scripture he had available to the congregation. Preaching "in church" would consist of explaining the Word without cutting and pasting it into a sermon.

Paul went into the Synagogue and argued about the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8) and when he had to leave that place he hired the lecture hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9) and took his disciples with him and had discussions on a daily basis. The word is disputing in the KJV but it comes from dialegomai which means that he "reasoned" or "discoursed" with the people.

When it is said that "Paul preached until midnight" our legalistic mind cannot imagine preaching until midnight without a "preacher." However, when Paul "preached" he was always the keriah or crier who spread out into the community with the "news." He was the kerusso who was "to cry or proclaim as a herald." He was the euagellizo who "announced the good news." He was, in short, defined by the only Biblical title which was not preacher but evangelist. The evangelist preached (out there) and the Pastor-Teacher taught the word.

When Paul is said to preach in English, he "dialogued" in the Greek:

"DIALEGOMAI primarily denotes to ponder, resolve in one's mind; then, to converse, dispute, discuss, discourse with; most frequently, to reason or dispute with." In Acts 20:7 and 9 "the A.V. (KJV) translates it 'preached,' this the R.V. corrects to 'discoursed,' lit., 'dialogued,' i.e. not by way of a sermon, but by a discourse of a more conversational character." (Vine, p. 319).

Learning from a sermon or lecture is almost impossible.

When Paul went into an established church the assembly would be more like our Sunday Schools than our worship service which makes a deliberate effort to focus the congregation on the celebrative preacher.

"Although the sermon was not an essential part of the synagogue service, the translation and explanation of the Scripture lesson was a step in the direction of a preaching service. There is evidence that an exposition of the lesson formed a part of the Sabbath afternoon service. In earliest times the sermon seems to have been connected with the reading from the Prophets. Anyone able to instruct might be asked to preach (Acts 13:15). The preacher spoke from a sitting position on an elevated place (Luke 4:20). (feiffer, Charles F., Between the Testaments, p. 63 Baker Book House).

Following this early model would almost guarantee that the church would never fall under the clutches of a charismatic preacher. Can you imagine what would happen if the church put its focus upon the Word instead of the "Preacher?" What would happen if the church honored its members by allowing the one with information to speak? What would happen if the preacher had to read a long passage and then restrict himself to explaining the passage? Wouldn't the Holy Spirit who inspired the Word rejoice and bless the reading? How about making the preacher sit down, quit pacing to excite the crowd, speak in a conversational or dialogue fashion, and tape his arms to his side so that he could not wave them like girlish antenna.

A comedian recently said that he had to be careful not to wave his hands above his shoulders for fear of being seen as gay.

After the evangelist set the church in order this reading-teaching task was assumed by the pastor-teacher who "read the Scriptures for up to three hours and discoursed in the sense of explaining any difficult passages."

The evangelist is the spreader of the news--he is not the author of the news. Robinson says, "At its heart, this is a moral matter. In the ancient world the herald not only had to possess a powerful voice, but qualities of character as well. Hauch Friedrich observes":

"In many cases heralds are very garrulous and inclined to exaggerate. They are thus in danger of giving false news. It is demanded then that they deliver their message as it is given to them. The essential point about the report which they give is that it does not originate with them ...The herald does not express his own views. He is the spokesman for his master... Being only the mouth of his master, he must not falsify the message entrusted to him by additions of his own." (Robinson, Homiletics, p. 804).

Robinson gives as an example the following passage which charismatic often use to prove that if two people pray in agreement that God is virtually under bondage to do whatever we demand. This is simply an example of the pagan belief that God can be "captured and put in a box or in a house." Here is the passage--

Plucking proof-texts out of the air to defend modern performance religion may be a denial of God's power rather than demonstrating trust. MacAuthur in Homiletics and Hermeneutics says:

"Preaching appears in the Bible as a relaying of what God has said about Himself and His doings, and about men in relation to Him, plus a pressing of His commands, promises, warnings, and assurance, with a view to winning the hearer or hearers ...to a positive response." (Homiletics, p. 820).

When Paul "preached" he was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and his sermons or letters became "case law" once they were recorded. No person who is not divinely inspired can preach in this way. Those who follow the inspired messengers can do nothing but teach and repeat that message faithfully. Change occurred when men observed the theater and ecstatic prophets or prophetesses and adopted the same psychological devices.

The weapons of the church are weapons against supernatural manifestations or anything which minimizes the

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons (same as lifeless instruments) we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:3-5

Paul instructed Timothy how to conduct "church" and he as a delegate from an Apostle had the responsibility to transfer this information to senior men within the church so that when Timothy went on to his next assignment the local assembly could continue to read and study the Word.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:14-17

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Col 3:16

Again we say: if Paul demands that the Colossians "teach" and "admonish" one another as they speak the Word, in this passage he shows us the only source which is suitable to get the job done.

Paul further warned Timothy:

Preach (publish as a herald with no changes) the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (preacher's jokes and mythical illustrations). 2 Tim 4:2-4

Notice that Paul did not say "preach about the Word" but preach the word. We ask the same question: can we correct, rebuke, and encourage without using the Word? When the symptoms are that we want to make our worship services more dynamic and exciting can we know with certitude that we are not tickling ears?

Paul makes it clear that only Holy-Spirit revealed material is suitable for the assembled church and his instructions to Timothy is consistent in all of the other epistles and church history for hundreds of years where what we not call "singing" they called "reading the Word" perhaps in the style of cantillation:

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 1 Tim 4:13 (See also 1 Thess. 5:27; Col. 4:16).

What would our Lord or Paul say to us when we read 1 Cor. 13:2 part "c" and then expand this into a forty-five minute sermon? A friend once said that sermon notes were like "dried tongue--the longer you chew it bigger it gets."

"The word that is employed for this "anaginosko, anagnosis) is the technical term for the cultic reading aloud of the Old Testament in the synagogue. By applying this terminology to the reading of his own epistles he not only ascribes the same authority to the apostolic word as to the Old Testament writings...he also combines a quotation from the Old Testament with a word of Jesus and introduces the whole with the familiar formula: 'for the Scripture says.'" (Ridderbos, Hermon, Paul, P. 483 an Outline of His Theo., Eerdmans)

Not even Balaam violated the explicit command of any kind of prophet. That is, what God gave him to speak he spoke and could not do otherwise.

Balak said to Balaam, "Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn't you come to me? Am I really not able to reward you?" "Well, I have come to you now," Balaam replied. "But can I say just anything? I must speak only what God puts in my mouth." Num 22:37-38

Balaam demonstrated a high ethical standard when he said:

'Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LORD--and I must say only what the LORD says'? Num 24:13

The primary failure of the early and modern church is the failure to see God's spiritual influence as a teaching influence and not to produce ecstatic preaching. Unless a speaker claims divine inspiration he is under the Balaam Rule not to go beyond what the Lord has commanded. Initially the apostles had the power to proclaim God's Word and did not dare go beyond it; they considered their writings inspired and final; and, therefore, those who are not supernaturally inspired are left with the Biblical record--honestly presented and unembellished.

"They were taught the doctrines concerning God, creation, providence, sacred history, the fall, the incarnation, the resurrection, and future rewards and punishments. Their books were portions of the Bible...When the ecclesiastical spirit overcame the apostolic and Gospel teaching, the study of the Bible was largely displaced by ritual ceremonies and priestly confessionals. A few faithful continued to teach the Bible, as the Waldenses and the Lollards." (Schaff-Herzog Religious Ency., Sunday schools, p. 159).

"Christianity had ceased (about AD 200) to be the close brotherhood which it was at first; it had developed a complicated organization, with a marked distinction between clergy and laity; the conception of priest and sacrifice had won a place.

And as the body changed, so did its worship; the place which had sufficed for the simple, informal gatherings of the first Christians was no longer adequate" (Shaff-Herzog, Architecture, p. 264).

"The public portion of Sunday worship began with Scripture reading, interspersed with the singing of psalms. These selections presented three passages, the prophets, the epistles, the Gospels, and were so read as to cover the Bible in the course of successive Sundays...In the Arian struggle the use of hymns other than psalms grew common, and was furthered in the West with great success by Ambrose of Milan.

"The latter part of the fourth and the first half of the fifth centuries was above all others an age of great preachers in the ancient church...In form it was often highly rhetorical, and the hearers manifested their approval by applause. Yet, while this preacher was probably never excelled, preaching was by no means general, and in many country districts, or even considerable cities, few sermons were to be heard." (Walker, Williston, Hist of Ch. Ch., Charles Scribner's Sons, 1918 p. 167-168)

"The bombastic rhetoric which had ruled in the Roman world since the death of Cicero was now introduced into the Christian pulpit, and the congregation burst forth in applause extravagant enough for a welcome to a chief returning from the conquest of a new province." (John Fletcher Hurst, History of the Christian Church, vol. I., p. 357).

Just as the Jews sought to enhance God's Word by preaching and having these thoughts given greater weight than the inspired record, the early churches after the clergy grasped control over the presbytery violated the Jewish mandate against formalized preaching; and rhetoric began to compete with the substance of the Word. Style over content is an old Greek concept which has progressively grown worse to the almost total demise of reading the inspired Word which was preached once for all times by the inspired apostles, prophets, and writers. The preachers put themselves in the place of God Himself by feeling that their explanations of the Word were more important than the inspired message itself.

Clement of Rome instructs how an evangelist must conduct himself among various people. He is claimed as Pope 88 to 97, or from 92 to 101:

One of the oldest sermons in Second Clement concerned repentance. It was taken from Scripture and the writer says:

"Brothers and sisters, after the God of truth, I am reading to you an exhortation to give attention to the things written, in order that you may save yourselves and one reading among you. (19:1; cf. VI. 25)

Resource concerening women

And when they have all assembled and come together, and we see that they are in peace,18 we address to them words of exhortation in the fear of God, and read the Scripture to them, with purity and in the concise19 and weighty words of the fear of God. We do everything as for their edification.

Second Epistle of Clement

Among unbelievers: Therefore do we not sing psalms to the heathens, nor do we read to them the Scriptures, that we may not be like common singers,

either those who play on the lyre,33
or those who sing with the voice,
or like soothsayers,

as many are, who follow these practices and do these things, that they may sate themselves with a paltry mouthful of bread, and who, for the sake of a sorry cup of wine, go about "singing the songs of the Lord in the strange land"34 of the heathen, and doing what is not right. Do not so, my brethren; we beseech you, my brethren, let not these deeds be done among you; but put away those who choose thus to behave themselves with infamy and disgrace.

Chapter XIX.-Imitating These Examples, Let Us Seek After Peace.

Thus the humility and godly submission of so great and illustrious men have rendered not only us, but also all the generations before us, better; even as many as have received His oracles in fear and truth. Wherefore, having so many great and glorious examples set before us, let us turn again to the practice of that peace which from the beginning was the mark set before us;85 and let us look stedfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe, and cleave to His mighty and surpassingly great gifts and benefactions, of peace. Let us contemplate Him with our understanding, and look with the eyes of our soul to His long-suffering will. Let us reflect how free from wrath He is towards all His creation.

As late as Justin Martyr, A.D. 150, the emphasis was upon reading the writings of the apostles often for three hours and evangelists were doing the work of the evangelist by traveling where the Gospel had not been preached, to convert people, and establish new churches.

"On the Lord's Day all all Christians in the city or country meet together, because that is the day of our Lord's resurrection; and then we read the Apostles and Prophets. This being done, the President makes an oration to the assembly to exhort them to imitate and to practice the thing which they have heard, and then we all join in prayer, and after that we celebrate the Lord's Supper" (Justin Martyr, Apology).

Justin defines exhorting as urging the compliance with what has been read for up to three hours. This too was the function of the Synagogue reader who read and urged but did not in the beginning "preach."

As having the pastor-teacher read and explain the Word gave way to celebrative and ceremonial showmanship in preaching, the simple singing of Biblical materials lost out in the race against soloists, choirs, hand clapping, dancing in the aisles, and other activities which repulsed the more spiritual.

"After each verse an Aramaic rendering was given by an interpreter, who in Palestine was bound NOT to use a written translation and not to allegorize" (The New Shaff-Herzog, Ency., p. 215).

"...the sermon was missionary and apologetic in type and suited to instruct the catechumens. It took the form of explication and application of the text, using particularly the method of allegory, which from that time on became prevalent and controlled the homiletical use of Scripture until the Reformation" (The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Preaching, p. 150, Period 200-300 A. D.).

The changes which occurred

With the arrival of the church building, recognition by the state, and the turning inward of the church, the preacher who had been the evangelist out in the cities and villages preaching, setting churches in order, and then moving on in search of souls, became the bishop usurping local authority and began preaching to the saved. The following quotation takes note of the daily meetings of the church and an intimate connection between the social and worship activities of the church. Into this melee the church added various musical forms including antiphonal and responsorial singing and daily preaching.

"With the victory of Christianity and the development of the service came a soaring of the sermon. Preaching became more frequent, being employed even during the week and during fast seasons in some places daily. As the Church during that period assimilated more and more Greco-Roman culture, the sermon developed para passu. The most noted Christian preachers had not seldom been educated in the rhetorical schools of the heathen, and employed in their sermons the rule of rhetoric and the artistic effects taught there, and polish became almost an end, often giving more brilliancy than warmth. The hearers came to look for esthetic satisfaction rather than for edification, leaving after the sermon and before the Eucharist." (The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Preaching, p. 150, Period 300-450 A. D.).

"In the East the sermon was often imaginative, poetic, even bombastic and wordy; in the West the rhetoric was more sober, and the sermon practical, simple, and clear." (The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Preaching, p. 150).

In later church history, the preaching took precedence over Bible teaching and study and rhetorical styles became very popular. Church history is abundantly clear that placing the emphasis upon pomp and ceremony--at the expense of the word of the Holy Spirit, the Bible--led to various styles of worship services which were to attract crowds or cater to the ego of the speaker.

Preaching by the direction of the Holy Spirit was fundamental in the forming churches and reading the work-product of the Spirit through the apostles and prophets with explanations continued until the very nature of the church changed and it reverted to being priest-oriented. A preaching performance was necessary when the preacher gave up on the Word:

"The public prayers had now lost much of that solemn and majestic simplicity, that characterized them in the primitive times, and which were, at present, degenerating into a vain and swelling bombast." (Mosheim, Eccl. Hist., Vol. I., p. 303).

This repulsive formalism is the inevitable result of seeing prayer as an act of worship rather as a means of communicating with God and seeing singing as an act of worship concedes defeat to those who want to enhance the act.

During the early Restoration Movement, Isaiah Boone Grubbs, Professor of NT Exegesis and Church History in the College of the Bible, Lexington, Ky., in decrying the secularizing influence of formalized music said,

"There sits the congregation, mute as in death. Here the godless choir and noisy fiddler fill the air with soulless strains, while the preacher, precious man, speaks his pretty piece of poetry as musically as possible by way of a solo, or as a sort of interlude." (Kurfees, Instrumental Music, p. 233).

The very purpose of preaching modeled after the Greek drama was to excite and incite the congregation through loud speech, a rhythmic almost sing-song chant so common among television preaching, gestures to excite the audience, and the neglect of quiet Scripture reading. Reading was abandoned simply because the masses could not be attracted by Scripture designed for those "seeking the narrow way and the small door."

When the church abandons pure Biblical studies and turns to preaching as performance or personality-based rhetoric the church, as Amos warned, is hungering and thirsting for the Word and cannot find it.

Jubilee 98 - Preaching -Performance? A preaching peformance for profit will doom both the preacher and his audience.

R.L. Dabney on Preaching

Read this excellent article

Kenneth Sublett

Musical Worship Index

Restoration Movement Index



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