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Monday, February 24, 2014

Two minute commentary on where "sermons" don't appear in the New Testament

I recently happened to accidentally click the statistics page connected to this blog and realized that a significant percentage of pageviews to this blog come from outside the United States.  I have to admit to having not been outside the U.S. except for a short day trip across the border to Mexico, and a couple of short stays in Canada.  This doesn't help me know too much about some of the places what I have written is read in.  In many of my footnotes, I refer to George Barna and Frank Viola's book Pagan Christianity.  In that book, there is a large amount of scholarly footnotes as to where the facts behind their writing, and, therefore, my short summations of various points are.  I'd like to say that I will try to do a better job of footnoting, but sometimes my intentions are better than how I actually get things accomplished.

When I started writing, I took topics from PC and other books on non-corporation church, and broke them into one minute segments, as a radio commentary (yes, I once recorded this within a two minute time frame).


My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
            Why are there sermons in church?  It’s only been in the last few years I’ve even thought of this question.  I’ve just assumed that there is scriptural reason for it.  Matthew 5 is called the Sermon on the Mount.  But, if you look at it, scripture doesn’t call it a sermon.  It covers way too many different topics in the couple of minutes it would take to read it aloud.  Also, was it really a teaching to believers, or a series of statements so radical as to turn off those who were only chasing the next big thing, and to allow the Spirit to speak to the heart of those who would follow in spirit and truth.  John chapter 6 verses 66 to 68 indicate Jesus wasn’t at all concerned about having a large number of fair weather friends.  Acts 17, where Paul speaks with those at Mars Hill, it is clear that Paul was doing dialogue, not monologue.  From Acts chapter 20 verse 7 and other places, where we do see someone doing something that appears to us as preaching, the Bible uses the word “spoke”, and these occurrences are infrequent.  Some say Second Timothy  chapter 4 verse 2 connects preaching with speaking to the church, but that context is not clear.
            The church we see in the New Testament shows itself as using speeches such as what Paul gave while visiting Troas as an exception, not the rule.  Why?  We don’t get nearly as much out of one-way communication as we do multi-way, where one can ask a question if something is unclear, or where a variety of people with various skills and experiences can paint a fuller picture of a subject.  Romans chapters 12 and 15, First Corinthians 14 and Colossians 3 show that worship involved every member, included teaching, exhortation, prophecy, singing, and admonishment, was conversational and impromptu.
            For more on organic church*, see , or locally at (local website).  You can email me at .*  
When I recorded this, I said "house churches" instead of "organic church", and there was a different email address.
Mainly from Barna and Viola, Pagan Christianity, chapter 4.

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