Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Summary and Conclusion – Part 5

Pulpit preaching, Peter the Apostle, and modern day sermonizing. What is the rub?

Previously, I have been writing on the issues related to prepared sermons and whether or not you can justify modern day pulpit preaching by examining the messages delivered by Peter in the book of Acts. Several of the issues that arise when such a comparison takes place are the validity of preparation, systematic exposition, employed rhetoric, and a professional delivery to a captive and willing audience. Continue reading Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Summary and Conclusion – Part 5

Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Worth dying for – Part 4b

How would you feel the moment a messenger of God told you the man you helped kill was alive and made King?

In the first post of this series on the messages of Peter in the book of Acts, we surveyed the dilemma of New Testament preaching versus modern sermonizing. Then, in the second post we evaluated the characteristics of today’s sermons and began to look at how they measure up to what was communicated by Peter and the other disciples during the feast of Pentecost. In the third post the contrast behind modern systematic exposition and 1st century preaching is breached. In the first part of the fourth post the discussion turns to the message that is worth dying for and sheds light on why pulpit preaching is powerless and a pale manifestation of preaching “Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)

Peter has remained consistent in his presentation thus far. He has had five opportunities to preach Christ and at each one he has done so extemporaneously. In five different sets of circumstances he has introduced the message of a crucified/murdered Jesus of Nazareth on the heels of a miraculous event. Now we turned to the reciprocal portion of the message. The power of the miracles witnessed by the audiences in each message rests on the resurrection of Jesus. Each column gives an accurate portrait of the message Peter preached. The emphasis is on the fact that God raised up Christ – and he said so five times. Continue reading Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Worth dying for – Part 4b

Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Worth dying for – Part 4a

435px-Pordenone,_Martyrdom_of_St_Peter
Martyrdom of Peter

Peter preached a gospel message that later cost him his life! What sermon would you die for?

In the first post of this series on the messages of Peter in the book of Acts, we surveyed the dilemma of New Testament preaching versus modern sermonizing. Then, in the second post we evaluated the characteristics of today’s sermons and how began to look at how they measure up to what was communicated by Peter and the other disciples during the feast of Pentecost. In the third post the contrast behind modern systematic exposition and 1st century preaching is breached. In this entry, the crux of the dilemma is brought into light as we explore the message that was worth dying for. Sadly, it is also a reminder of why pulpit preaching is powerless and a pale manifestation of preaching “Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)

Webster’s dictionary defines systematic as: using a careful system or method : done according to a system

I have insinuated that today’s pulpit preaching is not comparable to the New Testament gospel proclamations in the book of Acts by Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ. I have also stated that defining those messages as systematic in defense of the careful, planned, and systematic presentation of sermons from today’s pulpits is erroneous. Succinctly, it is justification for a form of sermonizing that is intended to teach but merely weakens its hearers. Did Peter go to his pastoral library, crack open his papyrus version of Bibleworks, layout his Rabbinical commentary sets, and then craft one of the most powerful messages ever to be spoken on planet earth?

The rationalization of sermonizing as a continuation of New Testament preaching creates an atmosphere that frees the church an understanding of Christian living with no practical experience of such. It also facilitates the oppression of the gifts of the spirit in the primary meeting of the church gathered. Continue reading Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Worth dying for – Part 4a

Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Systematic or Consistent – Part 3

Did Peter promote an educated faith with no practical experience through sermons?

In the first post of this series on the messages of Peter in the book of Acts, we surveyed the dilemma of New Testament preaching versus modern sermonizing. Then, in the second post we evaluated the characteristics of today’s sermons and began to look at how they measure up to what was communicated by Peter and the other disciples during the feast of Pentecost.

I concluded that the messages of Peter were not sermons but evangelistic messages. I also concluded that it was not a diligently prepared sermon by our contemporary exegetical standards, but prepared through obedience and first hand practice walking with the Christ creating an outpouring of biblical truth that was confirmed in the acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. A natural outpouring of truth came from walking in truth for the 1st Century disciples.

DominoesNow, we turn to the continuation of the series and begin reviewing the characteristics of the messages that Peter delivered during and after his Pentecostal message. We look to these entries to evaluate the validity of Peter’s message in a context that was pregnant with expectation of a Messiah to free Israel from Roman rule. The implications of differentiating what Peter announced from modern sermonizing and New Testament preaching are monumental to the Christian witness. Continue reading Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Systematic or Consistent – Part 3

Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Obedience – Part 2

Was Peter a trained exegete that delivered sermons in the book of Acts?

In the previous post of this series, “Peter the Pulpit Preacher – Part 1“, I tried to introduce the gist of a well established and contemporary view of preaching. That view equates preaching with what would be better termed, “sermonizing.” In summary, the definition of preaching according to the view in question is that it is distinguished by four major characteristics:

  • Prepared
  • Systematic
  • Rhetorical
  • Presented

Peter_Preaching_at_PentecostFurthermore, the premise in question is that preaching as demonstrated by Peter in the book of Acts is not extemporaneous, but made ready, and executed according to plan. Moving ahead, the treatment of this topic is not to demean the benefits of prepared, diligent, and carefully studied exposition for God’s people. The treatment shall be to demonstrate something that I feel carries more weight given the context. What Peter does in the account written in Acts has nothing akin to what we call preaching today. Nor is what Peter does adequate for the instruction or teaching of God’s people when they have gathered as an assembly to be edified. Continue reading Peter the Pulpit Preacher: Obedience – Part 2

Peter the Pulpit Preacher – Part 1

Was Peter preaching or sermonizing in the book of Acts?

The sermon is under attack. Its accusers claim that it is ineffective or out of date. In contrast to such criticism, the sermon is heavily emphasized and utilized in many Christian meetings to communicate biblical data to the masses, as one blogger points out,

“The Sermon is so central to many groups that its delivery is one of the main duties of a professionally trained and salaried individual, the pastor.”

With his essay the blogger highlights not problems with sermons, but specific problems affecting today’s sermons in our modern context. The post in pulpitriserturn draws attention to biblical anecdotes, the effectiveness of a good sermon, and even how to benefit as a listener.

The post offers a highly insightful and well reasoned presentation in defense of the sermon. It may even surprise you that this brother’s idea of a sermon allows for questioning and verbal interaction. In the end, the post itself rests upon the premise that sermons are biblical, and have precedent through scriptural reference. I would like to view sermonizing from a different vantage point. Since Peter’s message in the book of Acts is the premise by which the author has defended the sermon I would rather consider the nature of Peter’s messages in Acts. Continue reading Peter the Pulpit Preacher – Part 1