Three Requirements of Preachers

24 Sep

Preachers of the Word labor under three distinct requirements. First, they are to be faithful (pistoi). They are called to believe, and they are called only to believe. They are not called to know, or to be clever, or to be proficient, or to be energetic, or to be talented, or to be well-adjusted…

Second, the clergy are to be wise (phrenimoi). They are not to be fools, rich or poor, who think that salvation can come to anyone as a result of living. The world is already drowning in its efforts at life; it does not need lifeguards who swim to it carrying the barbells of their own moral and spiritual efforts. Preachers are to come honestly empty-handed to the world… 

But it is the third of these clerical requirements that strikes me as the most telling: preachers are stewards whom the Lord has ‘set over his household servants to provide them with food at the proper time.’ After all the years the church has suffered under forceful preachers and winning orators, under compelling pulpiteers and clerical bigmouths with egos to match, how nice to hear that Jesus expects preachers in their congregations to be nothing more than faithful household cooks.

Robert Farrar Capon

The Parables of Grace, Eerdmans, 1988, 91-2.

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