Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Preacher's Fundamental Sin

The preacher must learn that his fundamental sin is not to preach the gospel. He may be tempted by sins just as other people are, but the fundamental sin of his life is false preaching, false teaching, false theology. If the builder of a bridge were to build his bridge of pasteboard he would be prosecuted, he would be made responsible for the consequences, criminal action would be taken against him. But how about our preaching? What if our teaching and theology are like building bridges with pasteboard? What if the bridge we build here leads men to destruction instead of salvation? What if what we teach and proclaim is contrary to our ordination? What if the sole reason for our existence as preachers of the gospel be obliterated by ourselves? We preachers are capable of sinning in many ways like other people and it is good and right to remember this. But the work by which we must be tested as preachers and in which we must constantly examine ourselves is our preaching. There the question is, what is the substance and responsibility of our proclamation?

-Martin Fischer
p. 246, The Minister's Prayer Book, ed. John Doberstein


Anonymous said...

-Preach the gospel -not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of it's power. 1 Co 1:17
Let God be all-knowing. Examine yourself against the scriptures, not against your own preaching. To test yourself as Fischer suggests is to be like a dog chasing it's own tail.
"What if ?" questions are no good. What if you become mute tonight in your sleep? Then how will you ever tell your parish the gospel? What if you stopped trusting the Lord altogether? -It's just not helpful. Instead, pray for wisdom and understanding so you can feed the sheep!
For God who said,"Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2Co 4:6

Josh Schneider said...

Anonymous, thanks for some good thoughts. I think what Fischer meant is that the act of preaching is what preacher's must be tested by--not that a preacher tests himself against his own preaching. In his words, preaching is the work "by which" and "in which" we are tested. In other words, in preaching it is shown whether we are building on Christ, the sure foundation, or if we are building with pasteboard, hay or stubble (1 Cor. 3:11-12). So I think he'd be in full agreement with you that we should be examining our preaching against the Scriptures.