Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Art of Preaching

   Preaching has been called a ‘vocation’ by Catholic priests, a ‘calling’ by Mormons, a job for those who pass around collection box as they preach in street corners and inside buses.  No one has heard of preaching as an art. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 4:2 said “Preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching.”

   Art is typically a painting, a sculpture or architecture.  Religious mages have been worshiped by pagans and those who claim to be Christians.  This article does not concern pagans.  The above Biblical passage would involve only Christians.  Painting and sculpture for religious practice has been forbidden in the Bible long before art schools happened.  The Book of Exodus 20:4, explicitly commands against creating images, whether for preaching or worship.  

   How can preaching be an art form?  The Jehovah's Witnesses, follow what the Bible preach, and only what the Bible preach.  To encourage Bible reading, their art of preaching has taken many forms through the years.  

  • The ‘sandwich’ board worn by members pacing the streets; 
  • The magazines, brochures and tracts have been translated to over 200 languages, using whatever printing technology is available.

  • Books were written to put together Bible based articles to fit the age of the reader.  The books lead the readers to specific Bible passages that could help them on whatever situation they are experiencing.  Some were written to highlight Bible characters, its history and contribution to Jehovah’s plan of saving mankind through God's Kingdom, that Jesus instructed to pray for, "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.  Let your Kingdom come..."

  • When the internet arrived on the scene, was born.  It provides publication download for free,  with a choice of over 821 languages, including sign languages

  • To make preaching interesting and entertaining, videos are now available.  JW Broadcasting has streaming and videos on demand that any streaming device (i.e. ROKU) can bring to your television. There have been Hollywood films with Biblical characters.  However, commercial films are created for profit, hence often sacrifice Bible truth for sensationalism.  
  • Cart witnessing has been added to catch those who door to door preaching don't find at home.  It may seem to be a throwback to the ‘sandwich’ board, however, cart witnessing gives away free copies of printed literature in different languages.  It serves as a billboard in places where one could not be put up, like inside a train station or along crowded streets.  
   The art of preaching, as Paul suggested in his letter to Timothy was taken seriously by the ‘faithful and discreet slaves’, purposely unnamed, to avoid taking credit.  They are simply following the organized preaching Jesus himself taught his disciples. "And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14)  

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