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Friday, March 17, 2006

Preaching in the Church -- Is Nehemiah 8 the Model?

So much for my plans to post heavily this week while I had extra time! But I'm finally ready to start taking a more detailed look at the subject of preaching. Preaching has definitely taken central focus in our churches, and it begs the question: Is this how it was in the early church? And the obvious follow-up question is, should it be the way it is in our churches today?

I'm amazed at the way in which people not only assume that preaching is meant to be a central part of our gatherings, but that it is absolutely essential. Many include "preaching of the Word" in their understanding of what truly defines a "church". In other words, if the Word isn't being preached every week, the gathering is not truly a church.

I've already attempted to define a local church, which in my definition does not require "preaching" per se. However, that often causes people to think that I'm describing a social gathering only. As I deal with this issue, I want to draw a very clear distinction between "preaching" and "teaching".

I think that some of the confusion, and why we often use "preaching" and "teaching" interchangeably is because Ephesians 4:11 refers to "pastors and teachers". Given that this is the only time the word "pastor" is used in the Bible to refer to a gifting in the church, and given that we have termed the leader of the institutional church a "pastor", and given that one of the primary roles of that "pastor" is to stand up on Sunday morning (and Sunday evening in some churches, and even Wednesday evening in some churches) and preach, it makes sense that we have combined "preaching" and "teaching" into one concept. This is sad, though, because it unnecessarily encumbers our thinking.

Interestingly, just one day after I posted my introduction to this topic, Tim Challies (live-blogging at the Shepherds Conference at Grace Church led by John MacArthur) detailed a session taught by Steve Lawson. I say "interestingly", not that Tim wrote that post, because Tim was live-blogging that whole week. But what was interesting to me was that Dr. Lawson's text for that session was Nehemiah 8, which I had already mentioned as being used by some as a defense of modern, expository preaching.

At the risk of once again appearing to be a small chihuahua yapping at a great dane, I would like to examine what Dr. Lawson taught from that passage. Besides the danger inherent in using Old Testament passages as a model for New Testament behavior (we can discuss that more, if anyone wishes to) without any cross-reference to the New Testament's truth (specifically, the work of Jesus Christ), there are some glaring errors in Dr. Lawson's presentation that perpetuate the myth that it is not only necessary, but biblical, for one man to stand on a platform preaching to a crowd of listeners in the church today.

Dr. Lawson's main topics, neatly alliterated for us, are:

  1. Call for biblical preaching
  2. Characteristics of biblical preaching
  3. Consequences of biblical preaching
The second point is the one that Dr. Lawson apparently spent the most time on, and so I will spend the most time critiquing that. However, just briefly, I want to comment on the first point.

Tim wrote that Dr. Lawson commented, with regard to the call for biblical preaching, "The people in your congregation who know God and love God are crying out to the pastor, 'Bring the book! Bring it to me!'" I do not doubt that this is true. But, this illustrates one of the big difficulties facing Christianity today. People are still extremely focused on getting God's revelation from a man. Our institutionalized system of church, with its professional clergy, fosters this mentality. We pay someone to study the Bible and then tell us what it says.

Why did the people gather (in Neh. 8:1) and ask Ezra to bring the book to them? Quite simply, they did not have access to the Word of God themselves! We cannot underestimate the fact that God has not only chosen to give us His Word in our language, but that He also has given us the Holy Spirit to open that Word to us. Now, I'm not downplaying teaching here. I'm referring here to the idea that people have to come to a pastor and ask for the Word of God. Teaching does, as I hope to demonstrate through this series, play a part in the body of Christ as it matures and grows (Eph. 4:11-12). But this type of preaching that is being described should not be assumed to be the way in which people get the Word of God delivered to them. (Or at best, it should not be presumed to be the primary method.)

Moving on to Lawson's second point (characteristics of biblical preaching), he gave five subpoints. Below are the first three of those five points in the words of Tim Challies (in italics), with my commentary following each point (in plain text).

  • A biblical reading: A reading of the Word of God. Ezra read from the Law, beginning his exposition of the Word of God with a reading of the Word. He simply read the book, knowing that the Bible is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword. This word "read" means "to cry out." He called aloud, roared, proclaimed the Word. This is how a pastor begins the exposition of the Word of God in which the pastor makes a statement that everything that is said will originate from this text of Scripture. "I will be the mouthpiece of this passage of Scripture to this congregation."

    I am certainly in favor of the reading of Scripture. And I'm certainly in favor of the public reading of Scripture in our gatherings. So this point doesn't cause me much concern. However, this idea of "I will be the mouthpiece of this passage of Scripture to this congregation" moves toward the unhealthy dependence on a particular person being necessary to speak God's Word to His people.

  • A lengthy treatment: Ezra read from early morning until mid-day. All the people, despite the length, were attentive to the Word of God. "This was not a sermonette for Christianettes." This was an adult standing in the pulpit, preaching the Word of God using adult language. Through this passage we see that there is to be a full treatment of the Word of God. There needs to be a full disclosure of the truth of the passage and a connectedness fo [sic] their lives.

    This point involves a subtle (and unintentional, I'm sure) twisting of what the text says. It does not say that Ezra expounded the words he read in order to teach the people. It only states that Ezra read from the scroll. Where the "exposition" comes is from thirteen others (listed in Neh. 8:7) who "explained the law to the people". While the point about the attentiveness of the people is accurate, and while the point about the length of time spent reading and explaining here is accurate, there are a couple of things to note.

    First of all, these are not people who had been coming weekly to hear Ezra preach. These were people who had been in exile for seventy years without someone to read and preach the Word to them. Nor do we have any evidence that they regularly gathered together to have the Word taught to them in this manner, to this extent. This was a sermon (if you want to use that term) to make up for seventy years of spiritual drought! That hardly can be compared to our weekly gatherings.

    Second, as I mentioned above, it fosters an incorrect understanding of this passage to imply that Ezra was the only one reading and explaining the Word to the people. He read, while others explained to the people what it all meant. I would imagine that probably what happened was that Ezra would read a portion, and then the other thirteen teachers explained to various groups of people that were gathered. Then Ezra would read another section, and the cycle would repeat itself.

  • An authoritative posture: Ezra stood at a wooden podium. There is an authoritative posture - he is not sitting on a stool sharing. He is not walking around gabbing. He is standing at a pulpit because the Word of God is on the pulpit. Ezra mounted the platform in order to be seen and to be heard. You cannot get the Bible open soon enough when you walk to the pulpit. That Ezra stood above the people was intentional for there was a transcendence about this. It showed the superiority of the Word of God and the position of the people.

    I really don't want to be harsh here. But how does one say this delicately? When the text is silent on something, and especially when the text does not state the significance of something, we must be very careful not to put too much emphasis on a detail. It is entirely possible, and I dare say more probable, that Ezra stood above the people simply so that he could be heard. This type of justification for a preacher standing on a stage at a wooden podium does damage to the text. Practically speaking, there was no microphone or sound system for Ezra to use. There was a rather large group of people who wanted to hear the Word being read. How best to accomplish that, then to have the speaker elevated?

    And as for the wooden podium (contrasted with sitting on a stool or walking around), let's bear in mind that Ezra wasn't reading out of a nice, leather-bound KJV Bible that can be held in his hand! He was reading from scrolls -- possibly old and fragile scrolls. A wooden podium makes sense if for no other purpose than to hold the scrolls as he read. Yet in this particular point by Dr. Lawson, thousands of pastors were made to feel justified in standing above their congregation to preach.

To avoid the risk of this post turning into one of the "books" to which "flutemom" referred in a recent comment (hehe), I'm going to pull it to a close there. There are two other subpoints that I did not cover above, but I will touch on those in my next post.

For now, let me summarize in this way. Nehemiah 8 recounts a very moving and powerful story in Israel's history. It shows the need for the Word of God. It shows the hunger that was deep within the Israelites after seventy years of exile from their land and religious practices. It shows the wonderful way in which their hunger and thirst (spiritually speaking) was quenched by the Word of God. There is a lot to be learned from this passage.

Unfortunately, Dr. Lawson's applications are not the lessons to be learned. This passage cannot, and should not, be used to justify any particular model of our gatherings together. If anything, the use of this passage to defend the modern practice of preaching in church shows how closely tied the institutional church is to Old Testament models. This represents a severe danger, in my opinion, of underestimating the change that the life of Jesus brought to our relationship with God and with each other. If we believe in the "priesthood of all believers" as something that was brought in by the New Covenant, then we should be very careful to eschew any model which places one person above the rest as the voice of God and His Word to that people.

Until next time,

steve :)

24 comment(s):

Blame it on Martin Luther! He is the man that changed the front of the church, built a pulpit and replaced the Mass with a sermon.

It was also Luther who brought forth the Nehemiah 8 preaching model which is standard practice for the traditional church (95% of all churches in USA).

So, is it scriptural? No, not really. It is one of those traditions that Christians have learned to put up with and no longer question.

Is it effective? It works on unbelievers, especially at crusades. But for Christians, it is a lot like what Paul mentioned in 1 Cor. 9:26, "it beats the air."

By Blogger Larry Who, at Friday, March 17, 2006 10:47:00 PM  

once again, ditto.... what else can i add to your book? thanks for helping me sort out what i've long questioned anyway- you just make it clearer for me. how 'bout i ask the questions and you give the answers?? that would work, wouldn't it? (tongue-in-cheek of course; the holy spirit gives the understanding). don't take me too seriously!!

By Blogger flutemom, at Monday, March 20, 2006 9:53:00 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger flutemom, at Monday, March 20, 2006 9:54:00 AM  

flutemom, it's so nice to have you commenting here now! :) What elements of this post resonated with you? Or more specifically, what is it that you've "long questioned"? The whole monologue-style preaching? Just curious.

I'm very glad that these thoughts click with you. And while I certainly do take your words as a bit tongue-in-cheek, I'm definitely open to considering any questions you have that I haven't been covering here.

Give my love to the family. We hope to see you again soon.

steve :)

By Blogger Steve Sensenig, at Monday, March 20, 2006 12:55:00 PM  

Larry, I appreciate your comments. I agree with you that it is highly effective for unbelievers (see Acts 2 and other examples of where public preaching led to many repenting), but not necessarily effective for believers.

I am examining, in preparation for my next post on this topic, the hypothesis that preaching in the New Testament is public evangelism, but that teaching is what takes place (or should take place) in the gatherings of the Body of Christ.

I also hope to show that one of the reasons this gets messed up is because we keep thinking that we need to preach to unbelievers in our church services, while 1 Corinthians 14 gives a different take on the appropriate perspective toward unbelievers in the service.

I'll give you a little foreshadowing of my thoughts: According to my understanding of 1 Corinthians 14, the unbelievers are peripheral in the gathering, and any effect on them is secondary to the purpose and focus of the gathering.

More to come in my next post, hopefully!

steve :)

By Blogger Steve Sensenig, at Monday, March 20, 2006 1:04:00 PM  

I think Martin Luther's influence institutionalized the sermon in protestant services. However, the introduction of oratory skills as a "job" requirement for clergy dates to before Constantine, as Greek speaking skills honored in popular culture of the day were inculcated into church life. Constantine's machinations to establish a state Christianity furthered the role of the clergy as intellectual instructors.

Additionally, during the same period of roughly 3rd to 4th century, we can trace a move away from a Hebrew, heart-centered
theology to a Greek, intellect-centered theology. Augustine, in particular, was strongly influenced by Greek logic and taught that the mind of man had not been affected by the Fall. His centuries-long influence over Christian thought cannot be minimized.

Post-modern Christianity is a fractured mess with a common denominator, listen for hours to sermons which endeavor teaching our minds in spirit-led holiness, while in our prayer closets we ponder the divide between our rational mind and the level of faith in our hearts. (Even house-churches will often rely upon this approach to Scripture.)

We have at least three choices: continue in the traditions handed to us; break with tradition and forge ahead trusting God to work His will among us; some sort of attempt to mix the two--picking traditions we have faith in, while seeking God to lead us into a more fruitful Christian walk.

The problems with the first seem self-evident in the growing apostasy of most institutions. The latter path is fraught with difficulties basically summed up by, "Which traditions actually enable people to walk in the abundant life of God?" After it is determined which ones, how successful will anyone be enlisting a significant number of people to agree upon said list?

The second path only requires an active faith. Not a difficult choice for me, at all.

By Anonymous ded, at Monday, March 20, 2006 8:14:00 PM  

ded said:

"...break with tradition and forge ahead trusting God to work His will among us..."

I agree that this is the answer.

If the present preaching practices continue, Christians will continue to be passive. This is what preaching does to pew sitters.

So, God has to help the Body come up with new ways to raise our maturity levels.

By Blogger Larry Who, at Monday, March 20, 2006 9:02:00 PM  

Larry wrote: So, God has to help the Body come up with new ways to raise our maturity levels.

I would only disagree to the minor extent that I don't think it's so much coming up with new ways, as it is returning to the reality of Christ in us, the Spirit speaking through us, and really being about the business of making disciples.

It seems to me that the Scripture is pretty plain how this plays out in the Body, even though it is noticeably silent about actual particulars! In other words, we see the emphasis on the making of disciples (not making followers of ourselves, but disciples of Jesus Christ). We see the emphasis on the whole Body functioning together, including pastors, teachers, prophets, etc. What we do not see in Scripture is everyone looking to one man to be the voice of God.

Ironically, the ones who seem to promote this preaching method so heavily are the ones crying the loudest about Scripture needing to be the sole authority for the Church!

I had another thought in response to this that slips my mind now. If I remember later, I'll post it.

steve :)

By Blogger Steve Sensenig, at Monday, March 20, 2006 9:41:00 PM  

Most likely the ones promoting this preaching method are preachers. As a former preacher, I can understand their thinking.

Standing in front of people with what feels like an anointing upon you is heady stuff. It makes you feel like your are ten feet tall. The preacher is "the" man! And naturally, there is some pride involved in this.

I have not doubts that the change-over from this model to the new one will be messy. How else can it be when tradition and pride are involved?

By Blogger Larry Who, at Monday, March 20, 2006 10:19:00 PM  

Steve - I am not ignoring this thread -- just waaaay over-booked...

larry who -- I have a couple of things: One, I, as a believer, have been moved by men's preaching. I did not consider it 'beating the air'.

I also agree with Steve that church is primarily for believers -- and I understand where everyone's coming from.

However there is a great danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater -- I am also a preacher larry who, and I do not feel that it is 'heady stuff' to stand in front of people and preach -- I find it unsettling.

Yes, there is the opportunity for people to become passive spectators in their faith; this is where I stand shoulder to shoulder with you; however, I do not feel that ALL preaching is BAD, and should be done away with.

Steve is correct that using Nehemiah 8 might not be the best example of modern preaching, but there is a place for kerusso, the heralding of the word. This is the greek word used in many places to describe Paul and Jesus' work. kerusso, as opposed to didasko is clearly defined as preaching, or heralding and was done amongst both believers and unbelievers.

I believe that what is needed is balance -- Steve has addressed my concern that without some sort of order a group can quickly become a coffee klatch, and I also admit that he has made me think quite a bit about things, and I am surprised that we are so much in agreement on many things -- but I am not prepared for a complete abandonment of the sermon on Sundays.

This is not due to my being a preacher -- I collect no monies for my work as pastor of my church, and have always felt that sermons have a place -- it is due rather to change that I have witnessed (prior to becoming a pastor) in people's lives from sermons style preaching.

Yes, there are bad aspects, but again, to chuck the whole thing is probably an overreaction IMHO.

By Blogger Ray, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 7:41:00 AM  

Ray, so good to hear from you! I do hope you are doing well.

I'm definitely all for balance. It's always a very tricky line to walk when pointing out areas to criticize because it leads to pendulum-like reactions.

And I think you know by now that I'm not asking you to give up your practice of preaching on Sunday mornings. That's something that would have to come from the Holy Spirit. I just put the thoughts out there for discussion. :)

I want to state very clearly to all here, too, that I am not anti-institution, I am not anti-pastor, I am not even anti-preaching.

Like Ray, however, I think there needs to be a balance. The main thrust of this post is to say that if we use Neh 8 as the model, we get out of balance way on one side of the equation.

We'll keep seeking that balance.

steve :)

By Blogger Steve Sensenig, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:00:00 AM  

Amen brother Steve!

By Blogger Ray, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 11:36:00 AM  

Admittedly, I am an extremist in the messages that I write. But if a pastor asked me whether or not he should quit preaching, I would tell him to follow after the Holy Spirit. Even if a believer asked me if they should leave their institutional church, I would tell them to follow after the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said that He would build His church; I really believe that He is able to do that.

Am I stirred up by preaching? Yes, I am. When I listen to R. W. Shambach and others like him, I can't sit still. Their messages stir me.

If you want to read about scriptural preaching that makes a difference in believers, look up Acts 15:32. The brethern were strengthened.

I enjoy this site because it does allow different points of view; and even an extremist like me can feel like he fits into the Body of Christ.

So, Ray - go ahead and preach your socks off. I am for you and not against you.

By Blogger Larry Who, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 11:41:00 AM  

LOL -- thanks larry who...

I think we can learn from one another, that is for sure -- I have enjoyed interacting with Steve and ded here, and I think it helps us all to discuss these things...

By Blogger Ray, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 1:59:00 PM  

I just wanted to add that I have emailed Dr. Lawson and given him the URL to this entry so that he can submit a rebuttal, if he desires.

If he responds to me with any kind of correction or rebuttal (which I offered to post in its entirety and without editing of any kind), you will be able to read it on this blog.

In retrospect, I wish I had tried to contact him first, but it never occurred to me that I would be able to find contact information for him. When I wrote the post, his church's website was not functioning properly, and I did not know until last night that there is a way to email him from that site.

So, I emailed him last night and told him that I had critiqued his sermon and offered the opportunity for him to make corrections or counter my arguments. According to my server stats, it appears that he (or someone else in Mobile, AL) spent quite a bit of time this morning reading this post and others. I hope to hear something back from him, and will post it just as soon as I get it, if at all possible.

steve :)

By Blogger Steve Sensenig, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 4:51:00 PM  


Christians will often focus much energy on the sermon. Ex. Did I hear the sermon this week? Did the sermon speak to me? Was the pastor on target with the sermon? ...and so on.

Since the sermon has achieved this level of centrality to Christian experience, should it not be scrutinized? If it can be determined that it actually supports life in the spirit in a manner equal to its emphasis, then well and good. What if it does not support life in the spirit equal to its level of importance?

Additionally (here I am with Larry who), is there an effect on the man in the pulpit's ego because He delivers "the Word of the Lord"? Or, is there an effect on the "ego" of the group tied to the sense that the sermons of "our" pastor are superlative? Honestly, I have met more pastors who were pulpit-proud (like I was)as opposed to pulpit-humble like yourself. I think the fact that you do not take a salary is a measure of your purity in this matter of the sermon; money is a whole 'nother topic!

Challenging the effect of the sermon is not challenging its existence. To suggest there never need be a sermon is not a biblical. However, if anything we do as a practice is really a coping mechanism to help us avoid facing the fact that our faith is not based on the Rock of Jesus in our hearts what is accomplished?

I do not challenge you delivering a sermon on Sunday morning. I rejoice to the degree you and your brethren walk in life as result.

The challenge is to your listeners. What place does your speaking to them hold in their hearts?

By Anonymous ded, at Thursday, March 23, 2006 12:28:00 PM  

These are certainly some provacative thoughts! Steve, like you, the thought occurred to me that perhaps preaching may be external, and teaching may be internal in regards to the biblical manner of "doing church".

How do you think II Tim. 3:16-4:5 fits in the equation? I realize that it makes a reference to the man of God doing the work of an evangelist, but it also speaks of him being equipped by the Word to do every good work.

Regardless of what approach one takes to this discussion, I think that it is vital that worship (believers speaking to God) and the Word of God (God speaking to believers) be central in any gathering that takes place (unless it is in the fellowship hall).

As far as humility in the pulpit, I can assure you that I have absolutely no pride when I stand in the pulpit, I am the epitome of humility. ;-)

By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at Thursday, March 23, 2006 12:45:00 PM  

Gordon Cloud said: "As far as humility in the pulpit, I can assure you that I have absolutely no pride when I stand in the pulpit, I am the epitome of humility."

My response: That is funny. I am guessing you are either hilariously sarcastic or delusional.

Larry said: "If the present preaching practices continue, Christians will continue to be passive. This is what preaching does to pew sitters."

My response: I am a "pew sitter". I am preached to expositionally. I AM NOT PASSIVE... but I do embrace Biblical womanhood. (yep, I am a woman... who believes women should NOT preach or teach over men.)
How 'bout next time your in Arkansas, come visit my church and be fed MEAT!!!

Ex Animo.

By Blogger 4given, at Friday, March 24, 2006 6:22:00 PM  

Wow, I've had trouble keeping up with the comments here the last couple of days...

Gordon, thanks for your comments. Hold the thought on the 2 Timothy passage. I'll get to that, hopefully very soon.

4given, thanks for stopping by here and checking out these thoughts. I assure you that this blog is nothing like the one you found me on! ;) Since you told me you like nitpickers, though, allow me to nitpick something you said. You wrote:

How 'bout next time your [sic] in Arkansas, come visit my church and be fed MEAT!!!

In that, you actually just demonstrated the point of these last few posts and some of the comments that ded, Larry Who, and others have been making. It's the mentality that says, "I go to [insert your church's name here] in order to get fed meat spiritually."

This is the beauty of the Gospel that gets lost, even by those on other blogs who claim to know the full Gospel in all of its doctrinal complexity: We can access the meat anywhere, everywhere, anytime, because we have the Holy Spirit available to us 24/7!

I regularly dig into the meat myself, or with my wife, or with a friend, or with a group meeting in our home. I dig into the meat, my brothers and sisters in the Lord dig into the meat, and we get together and share meat with each other.

The model in Scripture is for new believers to be taught the Gospel (i.e., they are discipled), and they in turn then teach others. It should be a reproductive process that is taking place in all believers and through all believers.

Are there people in the pews who are not passive? Yes. Is that the normal result of pew-based passive listening? Unfortunately, no. Our churches are full of pew-sitters. And like it or not, most of them are passive. Which means that the preacher spends a lot of time, energy, and the congregation's money to continue to preach to people who are letting him do all the work.

That is a position that cannot be defended biblically. And I believe that there is a better way of carrying out the work of the Gospel than the method being perpetuated by this misuse of Nehemiah 8.

BTW, "ex animo" is a figure of speech meaning "from the heart" or "sincerely", right?

steve :)

By Blogger Steve Sensenig, at Friday, March 24, 2006 10:33:00 PM  

4given--I was most definitely being sarcastic.

An old preacher once told me, "Son, don't you dare believe those little old ladies when they come out the door after church and tell you how good a preacher you are."

I try to remember that.

By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at Saturday, March 25, 2006 1:32:00 AM  

Very good nitpicking Steve. My point is actually, ha, that there are so many dead churches out there that do not serve meat. Mine does. My point was not that I do not search the scriptures wholeheartedly and reverentially myself.
I sadly agree about the passivity of the pew sitters and I do know that it is nothing for me to boast of that I am not, but it is by the grace of God. I have found in this little church I attend, though there be pew sitters and likely a few that are not genuine believers, or a few that might deny Him as Peter did or perhaps even betray Him as did Judas... I am OH so thankful I can go there ALSO to be fed meat. Read this:
I love my church
Now, in reading it, do not think I am thinking it is the only place I get meat, 'kay? And of course I know the answers to the questions I am asking at the bottom.
And yes, you are right on your ex animo definition! (and the fact that I spelled "your" wrong in that context... whew, you are tough)
Ex Animo again.
In the asking, "Is it, me?" and the examination of ones faith I pray it spurs them on to sola scriptura for themselves.
I tried to check for spelling errors and cover all bases. However, I am not perfect... yet.

By Blogger 4given, at Saturday, March 25, 2006 9:52:00 AM  

Oh, and I am not into perfectionism, just conforming to the image of Christ knowing that I cannot attain sinlessness while still in this body...

By Blogger 4given, at Saturday, March 25, 2006 9:54:00 AM  

Just for your information, 4given, I lived in Ft. Smith, Arkansas; and my daughter-in-law is a Razorback.

There is a scripture that has helped me to understand the different growth seasons that God has put the Church through. Acts 17:30, "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring..."

For whatever reasons, God brings revelations little by little to the Church in order to change it into His beautiful bride. Each revelation deals with an imperfection. Sadly, we Christians always want to hold onto the imperfections rather than moving into the new revelations.

I believe that we are in a season when God is dealing with the traditional church system of one man doing the preaching or teaching and everybody else passively sitting in pews.

And the reason God is doing this is to set the believers free to do the work of ministry.

Hey, who knows? 4given, you might end up being a Priscilla or a Huldah or a Miriam or a Deborah when the shaking is over?

By Blogger Larry Who, at Saturday, March 25, 2006 11:41:00 AM  

great post. shocking eisegesis of Neh 8, i'm glad you exposed it. like you, i've read Neh 8 differently,
viewing Ezra's expositor's as group facilitators, sort of like a bunch of simultaneous small groups, or simple churches. its a model i think could be used more often, without any pretense of a pulpit above the people. one commenter said they already have this.
God is good

By Blogger jpu, at Friday, May 12, 2006 4:05:00 PM  

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