22
Aug
12

Tradition, Trivialities, or Truth

I just visited the blog of a nice young man who truly seems to have a desire to be on the right side of things, but often fails to think through his blogs before he posts them. I left a response to the following, but since he seems to be hesitant to post anything that disagrees with his positions, I have decided to answer him here.

After citing a passage from Nehemiah to support his point, he wrote the following:

Notice the following:

All the people gathered together in a central location.

Ezra the priest took with him the Word of God to the wooden podium, or pulpit, which was built specifically for the purpose of preaching from it.

Ezra entered that pulpit and stood, with the Scriptures, and preached while standing above (higher up than) the congregation.

Many today will say the early church would not recognize today’s pulpit/audience style. Yet the apostles would certainly be familiar with this passage in Nehemiah, demonstrating it not only recognized, but practiced in Scripture. Indeed, Jesus Himself customarily went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood before an audience and read from the Scriptures. Luke 4:16.

Let us be careful not to adapt methods and methodologies without diligent biblical study and prayer. At the same time, let us be careful who we listen to when non-traditional methods of teaching and preaching are proposed.

Actually, the text says he “customarily” went to the synagogue, not that he “customarily” stood to teach. Jesus, at times, taught in a sitting position. In fact, in the Luke 4 passage he cited, though Jesus stood to read, he was sitting when he taught the meaning of the passage he had read. I can’t recall a single mention of a pulpit in the entire N.T. Scriptures. I’m not seeing a pattern of standing in a pulpit above people for teaching or preaching. From a pragmatic point of view, I have no problem with it, but making it a pattern is altogether different.

Have we nothing more important to discuss than posture and pulpit or no pulpit for teaching and preaching? Let’s talk about truth, not trivialities.

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