Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Open Brethren- even more reflections

Dr. Rowdon once likened the Brethren to the little girl, who when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was awful.  Harry loved the Brethren, especially their commitment to sound Bible exposition, evangelism and fellowship around the breaking of bread. I do not think he liked some of the eschatological teaching, the weird analogies that crept into some sermons, but he highly esteemed Brethren Elders and preachers who studied to show themselves men of the Word, men who hungered and thirsted after righteousness, who lived godly lives and were examples of genuine holiness. We have to acknowledge that many Brethren men and women spent much time in the Word, and in the living Word, in Christ Jesus, and were devoted to prayer and the ministry of the Word. That is a fact. I wish that truth to be known.

One Brethren elder became convinced that the Brethren often lacked a consistent and comprehensive preaching ministry. So much Brethren preaching depended on gifted men who lacked theological training and skill in homiletics. In some cases their sermons were badly constructed, poorly prepared and dreadfully boring. Some preachers did not have good communication skills and little anointing. In fact some had no calling to preach and should have been told, in a spirit of love, that they should keep away from the pulpit.

Now I am not arguing for all preachers to go through theological training at an academic institution. Think of John Bunyan. Think of the original disciples; they had the very best theological education at the feet of the Master. There is no better education than that. It is much better than an Oxford tutorial, for sure.

It is, however, absolutely essential to have preachers who understand sound doctrine, the Faith once delivered to the saints, to God's people, and who have the ability to declare and to share the Christian message clearly.

It really helps when these preachers can lead, and when you have a good Spirit filled leader then people will follow and will stay.

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