Introductions and Foundations

In this, the premiere episode of Proclaiming Christ, we introduce the panelists for this new Reformed Forum podcast on biblical preaching. We also begin to discuss foundational aspects of preaching. We welcome your feedback!

Participants: , , ,

Proclaiming Christ is an audio program focused upon biblical preaching. In each episode we will discuss the process, method, and goals of preaching biblical texts from a uniquely Reformed perspective. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Jim Cassidy

7 years ago

Excellent show, guys! Can’t wait to hear more!

Adam York

7 years ago

Thanks Jim!


Fred Bruner

7 years ago

Could you explain for a poor layman what you meant, at about 27 minutes into the pod cast, you stated that ministers are prophets and have a prophetic ministry? Can you expand that a little more?

Adam York

7 years ago

Hi Fred,

Great question. I believe the point being made is that there should be continuity between the Lord’s prophetic Word deposited in Scripture, and the word which the preacher proclaims. We weren’t at all trying to make the point that preachers deliver any kind of new prophecy. To the contrary, the New Testament refers to preachers as “heralds” (a kerux – 1Tim 2:7, 2Tim 1:11 or the verbal form Acts 10:42). In the Greco-Roman world of Paul and Jesus a kerux (herald) often was one who went before a king and announced his arrival. The choice of this word is significant since the herald of the king, under normal circumstances, would not dare to announce the king with a message that was not the king’s. Likewise, preaching in the NT has a distinctively different quality than most people associate with it today. Often times, people today think of preaching as pious advice. They don’t have an elevated view of the preaching or of the preacher. The don’t expect the preacher to bring the actual prophetic Word of the Lord. Nevertheless this IS the expectation Paul and other NT writers have. I like the way Paul puts it in 1Thess 1:13, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” Notice that the word which they received (which was not the word of men) was the word heard (not written). Also, it was not just Paul’s word (“which you heard from US”) but the word of Paul and the other preachers mentioned earlier in the epistle (Silas and Timothy – see 1:1). I think a lot of people miss the language of “heard” and “from us.” It’s statements like this that have led those in the Reformed Tradition (like in the 2nd Helvetic Confession – http://www.ccel.org/creeds/helvetic.htm) to make an identification of the preaching of God’s word with God’s word. The point is not that preaching is in any way inspired like the Scriptures are, but simply that when a minister of the word stands up and faithfully proclaims what is in God’s Word, such proclamation carries with it the very authority of God Himself. Hearers are not free to take it or leave it. It carries prophetic weight, because preachers (like the prophets of old) are to bring to God’s people, God’s word and not their own (2 Cor. 4:5).

Another way of putting it is that when preaching is carried out faithfully and through the ministry of God’s Spirit, God’s people don’t just hear the preacher, they hear God himself. Romans 10 really drives this point home. After underscoring the necessity of sending out preachers, Paul summarizes things in 10:17 by saying, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Not only does Paul say that the normal, ordinary way faith is generated is through the effectual hearing of the preached word (high view of preaching!), but he also identifies that word with the “word of Christ.” Now it could be that Paul is simply referring to the “word which is about Christ”, but I don’t think that’s what he is saying. Only a few verses earlier Paul says, “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom 10:14) The quotation is from the New American Standard. A number of translations say, “And how shall they believe in him ABOUT whom they have not heard,” but here I think the NAS (along with many commentators on this passage) points out that the Greek simply says, “And how shall they believe in Him WHOM THEY HAVE NOT HEARD.” Paul’s view is that when God’s Word is effectually heard and preached, the voice that people hear is not a mere preacher’s voice, but the voice of Jesus Christ himself (cf. Luke 10:16).

In this sense, faithful, biblical preaching has a prophetic character to it. Not prophetic in the sense that it provides some form of new, inspired revelation which is separate from Scripture, but prophetic in the sense that the preacher’s role is that of a prophet who proclaims the Word of God, preserved in the Scripture, and by the Spirit’s power, God’s people hear the voice of the Good Shepherd through finite, fallible, even sinful men who are called to preach. Does this help clarify things?


7 years ago

Thanks for insight and information into the herald/prophet question. There are two of us that regularly listen to the forum and associated programs and discuss the contents. Your answer led us to some good Biblical studies that have helped clarify our thinking on the subjects.
We have had no problem with the elder as the herald. If he is not acting as the herald, then I think his ministry is in vain.
But I am real careful when prophecy is proclaimed. What I understand you have stated is that you are not proclaiming anything new that has not already been found is Scripture but bringing to the people an inspired teaching and expansion of the Biblical Verse.


7 years ago

Rev 19:10 …for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Those who preach Christ and Him Crucified are working under the Spirit of Prophecy, and are therefore prophets.

Apart from the church, there is no ordinary means of salvation, for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Mark G

7 years ago

Great program. I was reading David Calhoun’s “Princeton Seminary: The Majestic Testimony” yesterday and the title is based on the following quote from C.W. Hodge that I thought was apropos:

“The majestic testimony of the Church in all time is that its advances in spiritual life have always been toward and not away from the Bible, and in the porportion to the reverence for; and power of realizing in practical life the revealed Word.”

I look forward to future installments.

Oh, and great background music from Pam York!

Adam York

7 years ago

Great quote Mark! I’m in total agreement, as I am most of the time with Hodge! And thanks for the compliment on Pam’s music. The new CD is doing very well and we’re quite thankful for that!




7 years ago

Thank you for this episode, guys! I look forward to more of them.

Adam, I heard you say in your interview with Camden about this series, that your perspective had possible changed with regard to application. Could you say some more about that (you may, of course, say “no”)?


Adam York

7 years ago

Hi Chris,

Sorry for the slow reply! Sure, let me explain what I meant. I haven’t radically changed my views on application since my early days as a pastor, but I do think I’ve deepened them somewhat. Let me explain. I’ve always been wary about application which is eisegetical. I think preachers ought to take pains to make applications which flow from the text and it’s context. It’s a big temptation for preachers to come up with all kinds of applications which aren’t grounded in Scripture. When a minister of the word makes applications which aren’t rooted in Scripture, the authority of his preaching is diminished, because his authority is a derived authority. If I’ve changed or developed my views on application, it isn’t with respect to the above mentioned point. Rather, I think I’ve seen the need to make sure preaching is at some level placed in it’s broadest redemptive historical context. When thinking about context, I try and move outward from words, to clauses, sentences, paragraphs, structural units, books, books by the same author, genre, cannon, and covenant. I’ve grown in my appreciation of the need to make sure I’m relating the particular text I’m dealing with to it’s broadest context. The broadest and most comprehensive context which attends the proper interpretation, proclamation, and application of any text is its relation to the person and finished work of Christ. It’s with respect to the need to underscore the hearer’s participation in the life and work of the crucified yet risen Christ that I think I’ve grown. Again, that’s not really a change of kind, but a change of degree for me since I’ve always approached preaching in that regard. To sum up, my application probably has developed over the years as I’ve grown in my appreciation for the fact that all preaching must call believers to identify by faith with their crucified and now resurrected Lord.


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