Linkathon 5/19, part 1

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  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Sweet links…

    alpha dread

  2. Babylon's Dread says:

    So many things about that preacher list stink to high heaven.. Andy Stanley is not even more influential than his father much less than Bill Hybels… The list is clearly a list that leaves out many voices…it is more of a tribal list than a list of true influence.

  3. Michael says:

    That list is bogus…surprisingly so.

    We’ll have to do our own later. 🙂

  4. Believe says:

    I can’t believe Benny Hinn didn’t crack the top 25!

    Now was that mockery or satire? (or irony)…. 8)

  5. Babylon's Dread says:

    Tony Jones was worth reading on Bill Maher… Maher must have had a run in with a wayward priest or something… he clearly is wack….

  6. Michael says:

    I downloaded the Ligonier app and was astounded to hear the very first program was by John MacArthur debating against infant baptism.

    My admiration for Sproul went though the roof…he’s not afraid to interact with opposing viewpoints.

    Sproul will defend his position in a later program.

  7. Michael says:

    Everything I’ve seen and heard from Nashville says that Foster is full of it…the churches have done some amazing work.

    Sarah’s church has been an absolute inspiration…

  8. brian says:

    Bill Maher is the other side of Jack actually Jack is much more inventive and imaginative as well as being totally insane, but that is another post.

    Oh and as for great preachers here are my two picks

    and honorable fund raising tactics

    I cant understand why they were not on the list.

  9. brian says:

    Oh and another effective way to raise money for God

    Let me say this our faith, the Christian religion is the most powerful force for good, real good in this world. I dont quite understand why we dont see that, being the cynic I am I see it clear as day, but our leaders do not. They dread, they fight, they have apologetics of every flavor. These folks are like fleas on the butt of an elephant. It is so much noise in a sea of praise, but it often drowns out His real voice. Offered for what it is worth.

  10. brian says:

    A little nostalgia, back in the early days a few trends were big, satanic / Jesuit conspiracies, NWO take overs, y2k take overs, re education camps by the UN or Jesuits or the Vatican or the UN or all or none of the above. The Witch craze, which has had some horrible side effects in Africa well most of the world. Massive possessions, child abductions, New age paranoia, the rapture in 88, then 89. I could go, but the one that holds the most interest as it fuses many of these are UFO’s. Walter Martin and Chuck Missler spoke about the reality of these phenomena. Now dont get me wrong, I understand that all of these fads riled people up, got interest, and above all increased donations. I get it really I do, that is key, and always will be.

    But on the other side of this constant drum beat of fear and terror. I also agree scaring the hell out of people is also an effective apologetic, thus justifies its use, I get that to. I mean really does anyone ever wonder why some folks think we are a bit off.

  11. Linnea says:

    I like Stetzer’s observation that planting a church is more about loving the people God brings to you and ministering to them with an understanding of their culture and less about a plan and programs and bricks and mortar.

  12. Sarah says:

    Michael is correct, Foster is not giving a very gracious view of what the churches in town have been doing. I can’t speak for all the churches, but I know that Steve’s folks have been provided a place to live and storage units through churches, along with volunteers who came and did demolition and clean up.

    There is a church right now that just took in the families that were living in a tent city that have been kicked out by the Red Cross Shelter. Our church is coming alongside and providing sack lunches every night. Many of the churches had free clothing and food and water in their parking lots over the last two weeks. Many churches sent out organized groups of volunteers into specific neighborhoods.

    Yes, this was the people who were working, but it was done and organized by the church they were a part of. Of course there are those who are looking for attention or a pat on the back….but that’s not the church’s fault, that’s just being human. Still, if our church is at all more than an anomaly, much is happening. I have daily emails of ways to help…Thursday I’m providing lunch for 15-20 volunteers. We have had a crew working daily in a poorer neighborhood that was neglected by most of the city-run volunteer crews. We’ve now found a family of 8 that needs housing and are working toward that, along with more families that have not had help in demolition.

    I’ll leave off with the comments in our bulletin from this Sunday for our church:

    “Nothing slowed down this week in the flood story! As folks are coming out of their daze, we are uncovering more opportunities to help.

    “TVC will continue to respond in a triage fashion, doing demo/clean up/ food at several locations. Our Facebook page will be the best place to keep up with ongoing updates re: where work crews will be and specific needs. Also, we will continue to communicate with those signed up Sunday via email….

    “Your faithfulness in giving gave us instant access to provide practical help for so many. As triage response tapers off, the need will be for more skilled labor. So far, TVC has taken on three women in the River Plantation development to follow through with from start to the final welcome mat at the door. Led by TVC general contractors, skilled labor teams will begin drywall, framing, electric & plumbing rebuilds. There will still be a need for ‘unskilled’ volunteers, i.e. painting, simple carpentry, etc, as well as providing for basic supplies i.e. linens, household goods, etc.

    “Thanks to the many who are cooking and working, kneeling and praying, collecting and distributing, responding and loving. God is being glorified as the Body of Christ steps up to the challenge.

    “On the humor front: One of the often heard phrases this week: “Oh, that’s where that went!”. Sometimes it was in regards to a misplaced tool, a pair of shoes, a photo album, and even once, a refrigerator. We grieved with those who lost beloved treasures, but when it was in regards to disco-clothes, Flowbees, Sham-wows, or cans of Spam, we said, ‘Just let it go.’.”

  13. Buster says:

    What can pastors do to compete with Internet sermons?

    Nothing. They should quit trying. We’ve been following a model for the church service that’s unbiblical and pagan. If people need to be taught then let them seek out expert teachers. The pastor should be pointing people in the right direction, not trying to spoon-feed them. Free up his time so he can devote it to prayer, counseling, mentoring, and real leadership.

    Sermons should be exterminated.

    And why does it not surprise me that Sproul Jr. is one of the new “Teaching Fellows?” Why does Ligonier need to continue after Sproul, anyway? Let it die. If those guys are any good, then they’ll build and attract their own audience.

    Empire-building and nepotism are two more evils that should be exterminated.

  14. Found it interesting that Stephen Olfford w and Warren Weirsby were on the list. Even more interesting is that Driscoll and Keller were so far down the list of top 25 most influential people.

  15. Erunner says:

    It appears the Phil Aguilar drama regarding the fight with the Hell’s Angels has been closed.

  16. Buster
    Sounds like your pretty fed up with pastors and preaching…I get that…I sort of am too…but if you look up the number of times the words “preach” and “herald” and “proclaim” are used in the Book of Acts and the NT you will see that it was the means God used to present the gospel.

    My frustration is the pressure people who roam the churches like cattle grazing. “I looking to be fed” they say as they meander from church to church I tell them, I teach/preach the intended meaning of the text but don’t depend on me for your entire spiritual nourishment. Learn to feed yourself

  17. Em says:

    Buster! amen to every word – hope your viewpoint is contagious

    lots of good observations on this thread this AM – i am blessed

    Sarah,”“On the humor front: One of the often heard phrases this week: “Oh, that’s where that went!”…” i love southern sense of humor

    MB tempts me to ‘facebook’ just to see what Michael really looks like (i know what beautiful MB looks like as a ways back Michael was bragging a bit here 😉 ) i scared myself half to death with this new iMac, was talking on the phone and wondering what the little icon labeled Photo Booth was 😆 don’t hit that one if you’re over 70

    brian’s wry viewpoint gets some valid points across as only he can do it – God keep

    thanks all for getting my day started focused on The Family – now if i can just focus on my to do list and stay off the internet (first experience with Youtube)

  18. Buster says:


    Sounds like Aguilar got off easy, given the charges. I’m still suspicious about the whole case. They shouldn’t have been carrying any weapons, but I have to wonder if this didn’t all stem from neighbors’ complaints about noise and parking issues around their church.

    “In early March, a judge tossed out drug and weapons charges against Brian David Heslington, 37, of Costa Mesa, citing concerns about a Newport Beach detective’s honesty.”


  19. Em says:

    Pastor Steve and all who took a hit here this AM – i’m guessing, dunno, that it was platitudinous pontificating preaching without substance and without the discipline of Bible study, we used to call it “Pablum”
    we are in your debt for giving us in depth teaching and insights that come from your calling to study and preach the Word
    i ask your forgiveness as my response to Buster (whom i do agree with) was way too off the cuff – your point about the “grazers” is well taken

  20. Buster says:

    “Preach” and “herald” and “proclaim” should be directed outward, not toward the 99% sitting in pews who have already heard and believed. And they are the ones who should be going out and doing it, not just the pastor.

    But I don’t think they’re going to learn that in a large group setting either. It’s like going to a big sales seminar to hear stories and be motivated on how to sell. There’s value in that, but the real learning comes when the senior salesman takes the junior out on the road.

  21. Buster says:


    Been praying for you, BTW…

  22. Em
    Thanks for you sensitivity…but I didn’t feel slighted at all.

    You have a point. But on the other hand, j Peter spoke (preached?) to large groups and thousands were born again. I agree totally that listening to a lecture is not the most effective form of communicating. There are better ways of “learning” rather than thru lecture. Blooms taxonony should be read by all pastors. It speaks of higher forms of learning while teaching. But also consider that the HS uses the lecture ( preaching) as the means of convicting and reaching people.

    I am not the best Model because we are a medium sized church, but we use use lecture (preaching) and small groups as teaching tools and ways to connect people together in community. I view my sermons as giving frame work for proper biblical thought. My job, is to give what I believe is the intended meaning of a text and then give people the challenge of seeing how it applies to their lives. What I don’t think is good is to take a passage of scripture and ask a group of people “What does this mean to you”? We can’t do that but after giving what is the intended meaning of a passage we can and should ask “How does this apply to you, or how does this challenge you” and those types of questions.

    But preaching as a whole, IMO is the means whereby the HS is able to convict people, draw then to Christ, and indwell and transform them by the HS…which BTW is the greater works Jesus was talking about in John 14

  23. Buster
    Thanks. I go in June 23rd for a biopsy and then July 9th to have my kidney removed. We have some decisions after the biopsy comes back…appreciate continued prayers. We have this peace of God which must be the result of prayer because that kind of peace I am unable to muster myself!

  24. Babylon's Dread says:

    Buster’s post on preaching is just an ignorant rant from someone who is angry… everyone of us has done that a time or two here. So I will touch his ‘contagious viewpoint.’ He asks, “What can pastors do to compete with internet sermons?” he answers “Nothing they should quit trying.” Well the good thing is that Buster has the right to bloviate all he wants and he has the equal freedom to stay home and enjoy his computer. But in answer to his question, a pastor can love those to whom he preaches the word, a pastor can answer questions, a pastor can offer moral authority to his word by his life, a pastor can refute heresy within his own congregation by the word he preaches. I can go on with about a million statements.

    You see a sermon is not an informational exchange it is a life-flow, an impartation of one’s self, in short it is a means of grace a sacramental flow from God himself to God’s own people given by God’s messenger. Given by the man who devotes himself to prayer and THE WORD. Which Buster replaced with ‘mentoring, counseling, and real leadership’ a pretty big error by someone calling for a Biblical church in his rejection of the sermon.

    The internet sermon does not give the life-exchange does not convey the presence of the Spirit in the midst of a living expression of the body of Christ. Preaching is an event, designed by God to grant an encounter with the LORD himself. When a preacher has done his job hearts open for the inpouring of oil and wine from heaven.

    Yes there are many of us who preach ‘inferior’ to others but God has ridden many a lame horse to victory. Remember the poor layman who led Charles Spurgeon to genuine faith on a snow-filled day. That old guy did alright for himself. I could go on and on to the likes of an aged Pentecostal preacher who led a 16 year old girl to Christ in Philadelphia MS only to lament the meager catch in his net. That girl has led tens of thousands to faith and planted over 10k churches in southeastern Africa. The old guy did ok. Yes I know these stories come from a pre-computer era. But one thing never changes…

    God uses a human life to touch another human life… love always comes with skin on it. Your computer sermons have no life in their eyes, no soul, no tear, no touch, no pain.

    I will keep offering my pale substitutes for the sermons of greater men who are not here. Peace to you. But your rant is misplaced and erroneous. I pray your appeal falls empty.

  25. Michael says:

    “in short it is a means of grace a sacramental flow from God himself to God’s own people given by God’s messenger. ”

    I just stood up and shouted amen….beautiful sentence, beautiful truth.

  26. Babylon's Dread says:

    Just to modify, I think my response was a bit reactive in tone and sounds like a personal attack on Buster… that is wrong and I do not mean to convey it. I mean to challenge the ideas not the person. Buster means no harm to those of us who preach and he has the good of the kingdom on his mind and I do not wish to attack him. I apologize Buster but maintain the argument in full. Peace to you.

  27. Babylon's Dread says:

    Just one more thought… is it really helpful to rank the most influential preachers of the last 25 years or of any era for that matter. It really enjoins arguments that are beneath the Gospel … them men listed on that thread are wonderful …each one of them… but ranking as to greatness is such a fleshly undertaking. It is hardly something we need to entertain this side of the Cross…the disciples gave that up when Jesus took the towel. Let’s do the same.

  28. Tim says:

    “the disciples gave that up when Jesus took the towel. Let’s do the same.”


  29. Believe says:

    BD said, “I think my response was a bit reactive in tone”…

    Ya think? Glad you clarified…it saved me (and you) a sinful counter-rant.

    I agree with your message, not your tone in that post…

    We just need to keep fighting, IMO, to keep the “moral authority”…not just in “doctrine”…but in “action”…pastoral character.

  30. Believe says:

    The ranking is counter-Biblical, IMO.

    The greatest should be servant of all…and I’m sure most of the guys on that list cringe (or should) when they are “ranked” in a hierarchy of what is really just a group’s interpretation of a popularity contest.

  31. London says:

    BD – you spoke your heart well.

  32. Buster says:

    Preaching to large groups for the purposes of evangelism is perfect acceptable (I’ve done open-air preaching myself). But there are some churches that give an evangelistic sermon every Sunday, regardless if there’s even anyone new in attendance! It’s a waste of time, especially since the people aren’t going to go out and re-present those messages to others.

    In most churches, however, the sermon is just a lecture on some scriptural topic; some more technical, others more touchey-feeley. But it’s all patterned after the Greek oratory model. That’s not necessarily bad — Jesus and Paul did use that method, but they did not use it exclusively. We have focused on that because it’s the bulk of the teaching that was recorded.

    It’s goals may be to convict, teach and transform them, but how effective has that been? Most people (me included) can’t remember a sermon from one week to the next. Most sermons don’t hold my attention. If I want to understand some passage, I’ll go to a recognized authority on the subject.

    I agree with you that there’s also not much value in the “what does this mean to you” kind of small group discussion. That’s not a good way to learn about scripture, but it may be a good way to find out about what’s going on in someone’s life. I really think I’ve learned a lot more from other believers than I have from my pastors over the years. The “real life” application can start when people begin to open up and share their lives.

    I just think we place too great an emphasis on the value of teaching the Bible, especially using the Sunday sermon as delivery method. Great learning does not necessarily equate to great disciples.

    But your job has to be more than just getting them to think right about the Bible and seeing how it might apply it to their lives. Are the sermons getting them off their asses? For the vast majority of American church-goers, I’d have to say, “No.” Don’t talk about the “greater things,” they’re not doing ANYthing! Are they feeding the hungry? Ministering to the poor? Praying for the sick? Visiting prisoners? Preaching the gospel?

    I mean doing those things themselves?

    No, they’re giving their money to the pastor, so that he can do those things for them. They don’t have to get their hands dirty, and they don’t have to really change at all. It’s like a modern indulgence. They give their money so they can escape the fires that would purge their souls.

  33. London says:

    Buster, are you being sarcastic or serious? It’s hard for me to tell.

  34. London says:

    k. never mind. that last post clarified it for me. I thought you were being sarcastic for a while there but now I see you’re not.

  35. Another Voice says:

    BD is on a roll today. Amen and amen!

    The Spirit-gifted, God ordained title is “Pastor-Teacher”

    As to the folly of indicting all Bible-teaching churches as being filled with members not doing anything for Christ…..please…

  36. London says:

    Buster- I think we share some of the same frustrations. Especially when it comes to people not getting off their asses and doing anything. But I don’t think the solution is to stop having sermons or stop teaching the bible corporately.

  37. Em says:

    BD, i heard Buster say something quite different up there… was he calling for eliminating ‘church’ or the pastors’ roles? that wasn’t his thot was it?
    just a drive-by question… to rest my weary mind on for a moment 😉

    BTW… what’s the difference between a ‘bloviator’ and a ‘pontificator?’
    Is it a fly-by ‘pontification?’

    look out filbert!

  38. Buster says:

    No problem, Mr. Dread — I’ll admit the inflammatory nature of my post.

    I’ll also admit (as you may recall from prior ignorant rants), that I reject the “means of grace” notion as being both unbiblical and undefinable. You’ll end up in legalism if you head down that path.

    And the form of oratory used in churches, in terms of content, length, presentation style, and delivery method has no biblical basis. The only long speech that Paul gave to believers ended up with someone falling asleep and injuring themselves. You sure you want to aspire to that? 🙂

  39. London says:

    The only long speech of Paul’s that we have recorded in the Bible is the one where the guy fell out of the window.

    That doesn’t mean it’s the only long speech Paul ever gave.

  40. Buster says:


    The church is the assembly of believers. I’m all for that.

    A pastor is someone who guides and cares for someone else. I’m all for that. It’s the special parking spaces I have a problem with. 🙂

  41. Em says:

    it’s not the length of the discourse, it’s not the style, it’s the content – for me – ie don’t waste my time showing off – show me the Book … now London’s got me daydreaming about following Paul around – listening to the OT interpreted quite a thot …

  42. Buster says:

    Another Voice:

    Where are your “God-ordained” apostles and prophets? How many are on staff at your church?

    You see, the idea of paying someone to be an apostle or prophet shows how silly it is to be paying someone to exercise pastoral care.

  43. London says:

    Speaking of following Paul around…

    I’m enjoying working through this study on Galatians with the folks over at Ikon Community. Jason’s doing a good job so far I think.

  44. Babylon's Dread says:


    Why are you really upset about the preaching role in the church? Preaching as a means of grace is I think very Biblical and I can delineate that if I need to. And how does that translate into legalism… grace is exactly the opposite of legalism and having a means or a conduit for grace to flow is in very little danger of legalism. It would be in more danger of ritualism.

    I imagine the preaching role of the pastor finds its genesis in the old synagogue means of teaching torah to the people. There is certainly nothing particularly sacred about the Sunday sermon but teaching and preaching scripture is essential to the life of the body. Jesus cleanses his bride with the washing of water and the word… which speaks of the action of both Spirit and Word.

    What is it that has you wired and fired?

    And finally I continue to maintain that the importance of persons being face to face will never be replaced by technology…. nothing manmade can improve on what God created… and he still puts his treasure in ‘earthen vessels.’ Those vessels are not adequately conveyed by audio, video or even virtual reality.

    Nevertheless blessings to you

  45. Em says:

    London, i peeked at your link above – what a wonderful approach to studying together

    BTW – was this site down again for awhile?

  46. BrianD says:

    server problems, Em.

  47. Em says:

    either BD and Buster aren’t communicating very well or i’ve finally entered the wonderful world of senility – cuz i’m ‘amening’ them both 😆

    course i am the quintessential ‘double minded man’ of Galatians’ fame

  48. Em says:

    Brian, thanks – are those page breaks that are disconnecting threads now? – no problem to me as i find sectioned threads easier to follow i think… dunno, tho

  49. London says:

    Yeah, I think so.

    I really like that way of studying together too. I don’t comment on them very often, I don’t think many folks do, but I know that people are working through the lessons together. I also like that the info is there so I can go at my own pace.

  50. Babylon's Dread says:

    Oh blessed lunacy….

  51. London says:

    Hey! You better not be talking about me mister 😛

  52. Another Voice says:

    I had a lengthy reply but between composing and submitting the site crashed. It probably is wise for me not to try again.

    I will note that what started out as a comment about the teaching role of the pastor morphed into parking spaces and salaries

  53. WTC says:

    I’ve gotta post-n-run for a bit as a group of already saved, all-knowing Bible Believers are about to show up!

    That being said, I agree with the difficulty of Evangelistic Calls via the sermon each week. When we read about C.H. Spurgeon we understand that he never gave an ‘invitation’ at the close of his sermon. Rather, he believed a lost soul would be converted in the pew.

    I seek to proclaim God’s Word each week NOT to tell people what they need to do! But I proclaim God’s Word each week to remind us all what a Great, Awesome, Sovereign, Holy, Just, Forgiving and Loving God we serve.

    I usually find that Believers are ‘built-up’ when reminded of the awesomeness of God. I find that lost souls come to know Jesus. I come to see myself ‘low’ in my own personal worth and I see God as ‘High’ in His Worth.

    Why would I need to gather each week for this? Because I need it like food and water. I wish I had a good day to give you a more eloquent response with proof passages, etc… but I simply want to declare that when the Glory of God is placed on high and His Word is esteemed…. My entire being is changed!

  54. Erunner says:

    The article by David Foster concerning the Nashville flood was excellent. Puts things in perspective. Thanks BrianD.

  55. Buster says:


    No, I’m not angry or upset at all. Maybe I need a softer gravatar! And I’m not into Internet church at all. In fact outside of email, this blog is my only online interface with believers. The face-to-face is extremely important; I can’t imagine giving that up.

    I also have to problem with anyone preaching the good news to the lost, or even occasional large gatherings where there’s preaching and teaching. Teaching is very important, but it doesn’t have to be done in a classroom-type setting.

    My complaint is with the Sunday sermon. It is not proscribed in scripture, I am unaware of any evidence that it was done that way in the apostolic church, it has turned the focus from the body of Christ to the pulpit, it is clearly modeled after the Greek oratory tradition, and is mostly ineffective.

    It was made up by the reformers as a substitute for the Mass. Throw it out, along with the Roman “means of grace” thing. God is gracious to us all the time — he gives us things we don’t deserve. But grace isn’t a magical etheric substance that he pours on us. And to say that there are “special” means of grace is to say that those benefits cannot be obtained by other means. It means that I have to do something specific to receive those special graces. In this case, it means that I have to go to church and sit through a sermon to get this special thing. It requires specific behavior to attain holiness. It’s a work.

    By enshrining this as a doctrine, the institutional church has tried to claim a monopoly on attendance and obedience. “You can’t get this special means of grace if you stay at home.” “Having your own meetings doesn’t count.” “This is an exclusive conduit to the blessings of God.”

    I understand the sensitivity here. The sermon has a long tradition in the Protestant church. It’s also the key mechanism of brand differentiation. That would be that last thing most pastors would give up.

    What would you do if there were no sermon? Would you still love and care for the flock? Would you still be able to teach them? Would you still be able to make disciples? Would you still be able to convict, reprove, and exhort them? Of course you would. That’s what I’m challenging you and other pastors to think about. Maybe there is another legitimate (and possibly superior) form for when we gather together.

    “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” 1 cor 14:26 (ESV)

    It would be the typical pastor’s nightmare if that actually happened. They’d be afraid of what songs someone might suggest. Afraid of the crazy ideas that someone might try to teach. Afraid of revelations that contradicted the own. Afraid of uncontrolled glossolalia.

    But who’s really in charge?

  56. Pardon the Interruption says:

    Buster, I suggest you have overstated your case about preaching and/or teaching not being necessary in the church.

    First, Scripturally. Where do I even begin?

    “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially whose work is preaching and teaching” 1 Timothy 5:17.

    Second, conceptually. Don’t forget the vertical aspect of the message as well as the horizontal.

    Preaching is not simply to people. But more importantly in praise to God. And in defiance of Hell. I love how the first Gospel message ever preached was at the Serpent, “And he shall crush your head”.

    Third, traditionally. The Church has been doing this since the first century. We owe a great debt to Church Fathers who preached to their congregations and had those messages preserved.

    In other words, Buster, you have a point. But perhaps one that you took too far.

  57. Pardon the Interruption says:


    What about where Paul says, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching”?

    Doesn’t that then validate preaching and teaching in the church?

  58. Buster says:

    I guess I’m not making myself plain.

    My initial gripe was about sermons. The sermon is a form of communication that may include preaching and/or teaching. I am not at all against preaching and teaching.

    Preaching, as used in the NT, almost always refers to the presentation of the gospel. Preaching is distinct from praise, and the devil will not be converted. I have already been converted, and don’t need to be preached at. The unsaved need preachers, and every believer should learn some form of preaching, and not leave the job to the Preacher.

    Teaching is also very important. We all need to learn. Those of us who have learned some things need to teach others. There are lots of ways to teach besides delivering sermons. Technology allows us (unlike prior generations) access to superior teaching — beyond that which may be locally available. We should take advantage of that, and not be tied to our traditions. This will free many teachers from the old task of preparing and delivering sermons to working more closely with people and deliver more customized training.

    Preaching and teaching should continue, and should be performed by even more persons. It’s the ineffective Sunday sermon that should be retired.

  59. Lutheran says:


    You might want to get a copy of “Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries,” by Werner Elert. The Eucharist was a central, strong focus of the early church, along with Baptism.

    The worship service was divided into two parts — the Service of the Word, and the Service of the Eucharist. When the Service of the Eucharist began, only those who were catechized (taught systematically for three years) into the Church could stay for that second part of the service.

    Another fascinating book is “From Darkness to Light — How One Became a Christian in the Early Church,” by Anne Field.

    The way I understand it, the Greek words are kergyma — the proclamation of the Word — and didache — teaching. In the Lutheran tradition, preaching is all kergyma — with a “Law and Gospel” format, with the Gospel being primary. Didache, or teaching, is done outside the worship service — Sunday school, adult Bible classes, small groups (depending on the church), and three years of confirmation for youth. A Lutheran worship service models itself on the historic practice of the Church — Word and Sacrament.

    I’m not sure of your justification for tying preaching in the NT to presentation of the gospel. If you mean preaching the gospel to the unconverted in the worship service, the early church would never have done that — used the Service of the Word to preach the gospel to the unconverted. That’s not even a Reformation doctrine — it occurred later on after the Radical Reformation, IMHO.

    I have already been converted, and don’t need to be preached at

    Not sure exactly what you mean here. You may not need to be preached at because you’re a believer, but I think you do need to be converted — every day! Luther said that the Christian life is a life of daily repentance.

    How do you see it?

  60. Buster says:


    I am unaware of any evidence that the ritualized eucharistic-centered liturgy was practiced in any place prior to the late second century. Commemoration of the Lord’s death by the bread and wine was the focus of the fellowship meal, which served to promote the bonds of fellowship among the believers. It wasn’t until the fourth century that they (the religious and political leaders) were fully able to eradicate the fellowship meal and change the focus to the priest and execution of the ritual meal. See Broadbent or Banks.

    “Preach” or “preaching” is a translation of two primary Greek words:

    Κηρυσσω appears 60 times in the NT. It refers to a public proclamation by a herald. Six times it is used in reference to John’s call to repentance. It is used nine times in the generic sense of a general proclamation. It is used three times in a manner that you would suggest: “proclaimin the Word,” or presenting some truth (2Ti 4:2, Rom 2:21, Gal 5:11). All of the other times (42) it is used in reference to the presentation of the gospel to the lost.

    Ευαγγελιον appears 55 times in the NT. Vine says this term “is almost always used of ‘the good news’ concerning the Son of God as proclaimed in the Gospel [exceptions are e.g., Luke 1:19; 1 Thess. 3:6, in which the phrase “to bring (or show) good (or glad) tidings” does not refer to the Gospel].” Once it is also used of John’s gospel of repentance, and four times possibly in the way you have suggested (Acts 5:42, 8:4, Acts 15:35, and Rom 5:15).

    By my reading of the NT, preaching is almost always used in reference to the presentation of the gospel to outsiders. So I don’t think the term “preaching” should be used to refer to what’s done in most churches on Sunday, nor does the presentation of the gospel need to be done every week, especially if there are no new outsiders there to hear it.

    That’s what I meant about not needing to be converted. Yes, repentance from sin should be continual, but my initial repentance and conversion happened some years ago, but I don’t need to hear the gospel again and undergo repeated conversions.

    In summary, I reject the ideas that the Eucharist or the sermon (be it in the form of preaching, teaching or other truth-telling) should be the focus of our weekly meetings. I would suggest that more equal time be given to prayer, worship (singing or praise), teaching and fellowship (including the fellowship meal and Communion).

  61. Michael says:

    My study of history comes to very different conclusions.

    The teaching and celebration of the Eucharist have been part of the liturgy of the church from the beginning.
    One couldn’t even attend a service unless they were sincere seekers and the catechism before baptism and the taking of the Supper took three years.

    I need to hear the Gospel every day, not just every week…

  62. Buster says:

    Not counting the NT, what’s the earliest liturgy that we have? What’s the earliest catechism?

  63. Lutheran says:

    The Didache is considered the earliest catechism. Baptism and the Eucharist were indeed central doctrines, even this early in church history.

    “The Didache (pronounced /ˈdɪdəkiː/; Koine Greek: Διδαχή, Didachē “Teaching”;[1] Modern Greek [ðiðaˈxi]) is the common name of a brief early Christian treatise (dated by most scholars to the late first/early second century[2]).

    “The Didache of the Twelve Apostles” had been written and widely disseminated by about 100 C.E., and became increasingly important in the second and third Christian centuries.[3]

    It is an anonymous work not belonging to any single individual, and a pastoral manual “that reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures.”[4]

    The text, parts of which may have constituted the first written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian lessons, rituals such as baptism and eucharist, and Church organization. It was considered by some of the Church Fathers as part of the New Testament[5] but rejected as spurious or non-canonical by others,[6] eventually not accepted into the New Testament canon with the exception of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church “broader canon” which includes the Didascalia which is based on the Didache.

  64. Lutheran says:

    ‘Commemoration of the Lord’s death by the bread and wine was the focus of the fellowship meal, which served to promote the bonds of fellowship among the believers.’

    No. With all due respect, it looks to me like you’re reading a believer’s church POV into it.

    The Eucharist was a central part of the liturgy from the start. And it has nothing to do with horizontal fellowship between church members. In fact, the term “communion of saints” in the Apostles Creed refers to the Eucharist.

    I mentioned a great book that I recommend, “Eucharist and Fellowship in the First Four Centuries,” by Werner Elert. Here’s a brief summary of his findings:

    Elert answers the question by going first to the Creed in the original Greek and then to the Latin that has been used in church liturgy. He argues that the Greek follows more closely with a “communion of holy things” rather than a communion of people. The phrase simply means Holy Communion. The Latin language did not denote as specifically as the Greek the difference between people and objects, so holy people, or “saints” as we know it, worked its way into the Creed.

    Throughout the book the author emphasizes that the coming together of people does not constitute the Sacrament of Holy Communion. People of different beliefs have been brought together and even forced to take communion together by emperors in an effort to show church unity where there was none. Elert tells the reader, “The fellowship-nature of the Sacrament is in this that Christ incorporates into Himself those who partake of it.” The words of Christ in the creation of the Lord’s Supper “are without analogy and are therefore not to be explained by means of other examples.”

    The reader is led from the true doctrine of the earliest believers into increasing degrees of human defenses and human error. The episcopate, the canon of the New Testament, and the Rule of Faith which manifested itself in the confession of creed and doctrine, defended the Gospel early on. The episcopate and the Rule of Faith were expanded and given more power, eventually causing more schisms. Penitential periods for gross sin started out as a time for re-instruction but turned into punishments and penances. Civil government got involved and began to enforce unity through coercion rather than discussion.

  65. Lutheran says:

    The Didache dates to 110 CE.

  66. Buster says:


    A prayer of thanskgiving does not make a liturgy. But are you really sure you want to claim the Didache as a foundational Christian document?

    I would expect Lutherans to choke on this statement:

    “Of whatsoever thou hast gained by thy hands thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins.” (4:6)

    Even the prohibition against permitting the unbaptized to share in the eucharist is justified by a misappropriation of Jesus’ words in Mt 7:6.

    If anything, the document only serves as evidence of the authoritarianism that was creeping into the church:

    “My child, thou shalt remember, day and night, him who speaks the word of God to thee, and thou shalt honour him as the Lord.” (4:1)

    “Thou shalt take the firstfruit of the produce of the winepress and of the threshing-floor and of oxen and sheep, and shalt give them as the firstfruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests. (13:3)

    But it betrays itself when it gives reference to earlier traditions, such as the fellowship meal that I spoke of earlier, the local election of bishops and deacons, and the distinctions between bishops, deacons, prophets and teachers.

    This is still no evidence that there was a liturgy around the Eucharist, or that the Eucharist was the central feature of Sunday worship.

    The Apostles’ Creed is most likely a 4th century document. It certainly doesn’t predate the late 2nd century, and it’s hardly evidence of a Eucharistic liturgy.

    It’s an even weaker link in Greek: the “holy communion” is ἁγίων κοινωνίαν. Koinonia in the NT always referred either to the fellowship of believers, or the sharing of gifts. One might as easily make the case that the “Holy Communion” in the Creed was about church tithes and offerings!

    Is this the best evidence of an early Eucharisitic liturgy?

  67. Xenia says:

    Ignatius of Antioch, 110 AD

    “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again… Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic* Church.” (Epistle to the Smyreans)

    (meaning universal)

  68. Em says:

    it seems to me 🙄 the first place to look for absolutes regarding formulas for group conduct of any kind required by God would be the OT, would it not?
    do we carry on those formulae 😉 ? does God require it? …

    and when Jesus said this is my body and this is my blood, He was still occupying that body and the blood was still in His mortal veins … the sacrifice had not yet been carried out and i must assume that the directions that he gave the Apostles, who were there in His presence, were for that moment and forward … commemorating an event, an edification, love, but not an organic infusion.

    orders of worship (is that the correct term?) are lovely, focusing us even today perhaps, but i think they are more a manifestation of men (God blessed) civilizing the flock (good thing) than a requirement for the Church by God, Himself – dunno

    today? if it still leads you in your walk, do it – if it doesn’t improve your walk, then find something that does… just sayin … again

  69. Buster says:


    I’ve read Ignatius, and I fault him with driving the church toward authoritarianism and centralization of power in his zeal to combat heresies. He was, certainly, an advocate of the ritualization of the Eucharist, especially since this lent support to the centralization of power. But terms of the timeline, since this is early 2nd century, I stand corrected.

  70. Lutheran says:


    I didn’t say Lutherans claim it. You asked what was the earliest Christian catechism, and I gave you the answer. Besides, Lutherans can’t ‘claim’ it in any authoritative manner, since the Didache was just discovered in the 19th Century, and our Confessions are from the 16th! LOL. But again, to repeat, it does focus on Baptism, the Eucharist, and church order. And it’s the earliest document of the type that the Church has.

    You seem to already have your mind made up. If one thing in the Didache is in error, you’re ready to dismiss the whole thing. Why are you so hung up on it’s ‘authority’?

    The evidence is OVERWHELMING that the Early Church treated Christ’s body and blood in the manner that Xenia cited in the quote from Ignatius. He and the early church called the Eucharist “the medicine of immortality.

    You seem to have some type of neo-Marxist suspicion that the ‘ritualization’ of the Eucharist was some type of ‘power play.’ I don’t buy that line of argument. You seem to be arguing for some type of gnostic, hidden church that was the pure one, while the big bad institutional church conducted power plays and shoved crap down the throats of unwilling subjects.

    Sin doesn’t dwell in bricks and structures, but in the sinful human heart. It’s painful, but each of us must look in the mirror for the problem and to the Cross for the ‘cure’.

    Over these last few years, there have been multitudes of examples of pastoral abuse cited on the PP in the low church Protestant world. There are probably churches that meet in warehouses where this has gone on. No, sin is no respecter of institutions.

  71. Buster says:

    Where’s the “overwhelming evidence?” You can’t say that the Didache represented a normative practice if it contains other elements that never entered into common practice. You can’t claim that Ignatius’ letters represent universal doctrine, given the opposition from other bishops that persisted for centuries. The Creed is not conclusive, so what other evidence is there?

    All I’m asking is for you to prove your case.

    But instead of continuing in that line, you’re suggesting that I have neo-Marxist or gnostic views? I will refrain from responding in kind.

  72. dusty says:

    I really hope I am reading the comments all wrong…it seems that some who disagree with Buster’s thoughts…instead of trying to prove his thoughts wrong…are attacking his character….please tell me I have misread.

  73. Michael says:

    I don’t see that at all…

  74. dusty says:

    ok, I just read where Dixie Dread apologized for his comment that sounded like an attack…that was nice of him.

  75. dusty says:

    hi there Michael, how are you doing today?

  76. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Geez, it’s great to have Buster back. I missed all of this when it was happening a couple of days ago. I remember, he and I used to have some pretty fun battles.
    Hi Buster!

  77. Michael says:


    I’m ok…

  78. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    As I read through I did find one thing disturbing in Buster’s comments – and that was the fact that he does not feel that he needs to hear the gospel any longer since he is already saved. Now, I do realize that this may be more of a Lutheran thing, but in our role as both Sinner and Saint, we do need to hear both the Law and the Gospel each week – that we do not despair over our daily sins and that at least once a week, we can hear of God’s goodness and forgiveness towards us in the work of Christ on the cross.

  79. Dusty says:

    Michael, that was convincing…not.

  80. Buster says:

    Wow, I thought this thread was dead, but I see Dusty’s been here… uh… dusting.

    Hi MLD! I remember those days fondly! Are you still baptizing those cats??? 🙂

    Yes, I was using a bit of hyperbole there. I don’t tire of hearing the gospel. I still enjoy listening to those old time radio preachers like Oliver B. Greene and Lester Roloff. I would never want to forget about the basis of my relationship with God.

    But there are churches where everything is about getting people saved. Every message is a salvation message. All verses point to the cross. All the songs are variations of “sinner come home,” and most of the foyer conversations are about passing out tracts or witnessing to somebody. I’ve been to them. I used to belong to one, long ago. But they’re not complete. The people never grow up. They’re not prepared for real battles, or even real-life problems.

    There has to be balance, and I think our meetings ought to be equal parts of fellowship, worship, teaching and prayer. Let the ones with experience work with others and teach them how to lead people to Jesus, not just give speeches. After all, 99% of the unchurched are… not in churches.

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