Friday, 29 April 2011

The pulpit leads the world

Over the past few weeks I've been listening to Moby Dick as I do the washing up after dinner - what an epic tale! I'm sure Melville intended to communicate something of the Gospel and God's triumph over man's rebellion through his scintillating story but I need to listen to it again and inwardly digest before pontificating on that. For now though, how about the quote below showing how highly Melville regarded preaching:
"What could be more full of meaning? -- for the pulpit is ever this earth's foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world. From thence it is the storm of God's quick wrath is first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favorable winds. Yes, the world's a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow" (Moby Dickconcluding passage of The Pulpit, chapter 8)
If ever I was to be involved in theological training, I would insist that every man considering the pastorate, memorise this passage and etch it deep in their heart... and how I yearn myself to grow in the conviction of this truth every time I prepare to preach... the conviction that:

1) All of scripture is inspired and originates from the Triune Creator of our cosmos - each individual word, each epistolary greeting, every selah, each Psalm heading, the Bible's table of contents, the 153 mentioned in John 21 - absolutely everything in Scripture is from our Loving Heavenly Father and is given to us for our good and for His glory.

2) That it is far better and infinitely safer to speak the truth in love than to earn the adoration and commendation of one's congregation or friends. Rather than pander to the Spirit of the age and follow the World's concerns ("global warming" "social justice" "fair trade" "organic food") the preacher should diligently pursue a ministry of teaching the world everything Jesus commanded e.g. that abortion is murder, homosexuality is a wicked evil, that hell is real, that marital sex is bliss, that the new creation will be a proper feast and so on)

Anything else one might want to add?

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