Faithful Preaching of the Word
Since we believe that the Word of God is central to living a life of faith and worship unto the Lord, we look to the Bible for encouragement, wisdom and guidance, exhortation, and even conviction. In both the Old and the New Testaments, the transmission of God’s Word to His people was often accomplished through reading, explanation, and application by prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, and teachers. Whether in assemblies of tribes, festive gatherings in the Temple of Solomon or Herod, Sabbath observances in the early synagogues, or Christians huddled in private homes in Jerusalem, Antioch, or Philippi, the Word of God has always been declared and applied to the people of God. The Apostle Paul was zealous to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation to sinners. He urged that the Word of God be preached above all other sorts of ministries of the church, just as we find in his instructions to his young protégé, Timothy:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. — 2 Timothy 4:1-2Standing firmly in the inspired exhortations of the Apostle Paul to preach the Word, and looking to our early forefathers in the faith — men of God and great preachers in the early Church such as Augustine of Hippo and John Chrysostom, along with our more recent forebears Luther, Calvin, Knox, Edwards, and Whitefield — Hope strives to provide faithful proclamation, explanation, and application of God’s Holy Word. Biblical, traditional preaching of the Gospel seems out of date and out of place to most people in today’s media-saturated culture. This is even the current thinking of many within the Protestant Church in the western world. We realize that for a man to stand before a gathering of people, read from a text, and then explain, illustrate, exhort, and apply it to them for thirty minutes or so may seem foolish. The Bible instructs us that, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28) It is through the “foolishness” of preaching that the Holy Spirit applies the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those He has chosen to redeem. It is through the “foolishness” of the Gospel that sinners are convicted, the discouraged are encouraged, and the broken-hearted are lifted-up. “Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed” (1 Corinthians 15:11).