The Inseparable Connection Between Preaching and Believing: IntroductionWednesday, June 15, 2005
Have you ever heard personal testimonies before in which a person professes to have been saved yet never having heard the gospel presented? Many times this is an immature motivation on the part of the believer to make their conversion more spellbinding than the event really was. These believers fail to understand that the gospel is amazing enough in its work to not be in need of rescuing with such fantastic stories. But many times these kinds of testimonies result in mere ignorance. The truth is that they really do not recall when they heard the gospel, so for them they never heard it all and yet God saved them.
Such testimonies strike a chord of exegetical nervousness and pastoral caution in my spiritual spinal cord. On the exegetical side of things, God’s Word is undeniably clear that no person becomes a Christian who has not also heard the preaching of the gospel. That is what this article seeks to explain. And on the pastoral side of things, red flags begin popping out all over my mind for fear that the person has very little amount of the proper understanding and respect needed toward the preaching of the gospel. More often than not, the believers whose testimonies are wrought with holy vehemence over the fact that they never heard the gospel (and I can testify that some have gotten downright ugly with me about it) have little understanding of the primacy of preaching and little respect for this God-ordained ministry.
You can usually find these type of Christians worshiping God on the lake or the golf course on Sunday mornings. For them they are convinced that God has “saved” them without any preaching, and so they don’t need it at all. They’ll just fish and play golf waiting on God to speak to them again, and sadly to the grave they’ll go without their fishing poles and golf clubs. The bottom line, biblically speaking, is that there is no room for any kind of thinking that does not inseparably connect our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ – our receiving Him as Savior, our acceptation of the gospel - with the preaching of the gospel. There are six texts which bear this out. And given the fact that one’s theology of preaching is almost entirely derived from and driven by the apostle Paul’s writings, it is no surprise that all six texts are from his epistles. Over the next six days we'll look at these texts and consider the implications.