Is preaching from the pulpit the most important thing in the church and the life of the believer?
Thanks for your question and it is certainly an important one.
When you ask whether preaching from the pulpit is the most important thing in the church and the life of the believer, I take it you are asking whether the proclamation of God's word on the Lord's Day is the most important thing in the life of the believer and the church. There are many today who would simply say, "no" and tell you that what happens on Sunday during corporate worship is not really any different from what happens in your normal everyday life.
However, because we believe that ministers are called to proclaim God's Word to God's people and that through the faithful use of preaching God grows his people in the faith, we cannot and should not adopt such an attitude toward preaching. Preaching was the primary activity of the apostles. It was through their preaching that the church was born in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Paul was called to preach the gospel to the Gentiles so that they might be saved (1 Cor. 1:17-18). But not only the gospel, but the whole counsel of God is to be preached (Acts 20:27) so that believers themselves might be fit for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). All this is to say is that the place which the apostles gave to preaching and the place it has occupied in the history of the Christian church teach us that God has chosen to communicate with us not alone through his written Word, but also through the clear preaching of it and proclamation of it through his appointed ministers. That there are such men is unmistakable (Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-2); and that their faithful preaching is to be received as the Word of God is equally unmistakable (Rom. 10:13-15; 1 Thess. 2:13).
And so to hear from the Lord's Word though his appointed minister certainly must be the most important thing in the church and the life of the believer. But, thankfully, that is not all the Lord has given us. He has also given us worship, prayer, the sacrament of the Lord's supper, all of which sweetly work together to draw us closer to our God as he reveals more and more to us the glorious wonders of the gospel.
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