Monday, September 23, 2013

Liturgical Service: All Scripture is God-Breathed

Yesterday I preached in a Liturgical Service at a Methodist church here in Singapore. I enjoyed the more structured service as I normally preach at contemporary-style services even among mainline churches like Anglican and Methodist churches. The thing I liked most is that I was called to preach after 25 minutes and the congregation was still fresh and I did not see anyone fidgeting or nodding off in my 28-minute sermon. In fact, I preached 3 minutes longer than the allocated time but I believe my delivery was fluent and sound and no one was made worse to listen to a slightly longer sermon on 2 Tim 3:14-17 with the title All Scripture is God-breathed. After the service, a number of members took the trouble to speak with me and engaged with me on the sermon which is unusual but something that is music to the preacher's ears.

I spoke about the need to have a full and comprehensive understanding of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation making up every Scripture, both OT and NT (Of course Paul was referring to the Jewish Scriptures, OT in 2 Tim 3:16). I spoke about the need to have a consistent and daily devotions and also study of the Bible if we want to be well-versed in Scripture. More so for the clergy or ministers of the Gospel whom I likened to be surgeons, we are doctors of the soul. I talked about the length of time a medical student takes before he/she is qualified to be a surgeon, often at least 7 years of study and housemanship and then another 2 or 3 years of postgraduate study and a few more years working under a senior specialist surgeon before being accredited as a specialist. We cannot take the training of God's servants lightly. The failure to emphasize the study of Scripture in theological education can bring wide-ranging damage. If the pastor/preacher is ill-trained, it will lower the standard of biblical literacy among the church members. If adult church members are not fed spiritually, the effect will be felt in Sunday Schools and households - our next generation will be affected for the worse. In fact, I am seeing a decline in biblical literacy in many churches, a worrying trend. Our young people often follow the fads and winds of doctrine of the day for how can they judge when they are malnourished, fed with milk and not solid food and as Hosea the prophet wrote, My people perish for the lack of  knowledge.

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