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Biblical preaching still essential for 21st century, prof contends

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Biblical preaching is not out of date as some people claim; rather, it still has the answers for society today and requires pioneers to take those answers to people in the new millennium, said Neil Wiseman in a series of lectures at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Feb. 2 and 3.
“The Bible meets needs,” said Wiseman, professor of pastoral development at Nazarene Bible College, Colorado Springs, Colo., during Southwestern’s annual Northcutt Lectures.
By straying from what the Bible says, Christians cannot share what God has to say about solving current societal problems, Wiseman said.
“If all truth is God’s truth and the Word of God delivers that truth to us, then there is always something we can say from the Word of God to the needs of contemporary folks,” he said, refuting the accusation that Bible-preaching churches are not meeting people’s needs.
On the dawn of the new millennium, the church needs someone to take a stand and be a pioneer just as others have done in the past, Wiseman said. “Even as Luther, Wesley and Calvin were pioneers for their day, someone needs to be a pioneer for our day,” he said.
With all the fear that is currently in society about the new century, Christians have nothing to fear, Wiseman said, because “the God that has called us to ministry is already there.”
Christians must seize the opportunity that God has given and make a difference, he said. “Think of what we can do in the new millennium,” he said. “God has placed us in this time to do something magnificent for him. If ever there was a time for someone to stand up and say, ‘Here I am, Lord, send me,’ the time is now.”
Ministry will still require the same basics of purity, authenticity, unconditional love and reliance on God that it always has, Wiseman said.
He reminded students they have to examine their own hearts first, before they can begin to minister to those around them.
“If we are going to be pioneers for the new century for the gospel, we have to have inner credentials that show on the outside,” he said.
Asserting ministers must live authentic lives, Wiseman said, “We are to be examples of the flock that God has entrusted to us.”
The example that others can see results directly from the minister’s fellowship with God, he said, noting, “Who we are on the inside gets out on us.”
Wiseman also called for unconditional love, saying that ministers must look “at people through the eyes of Christ,” he said, which will result in ministering to people regardless of their problems.
“Ministry is love in action,” he said, reminding the students, “People are the reason that Jesus came.”
Ministers must also have total reliance on God, Wiseman said, commenting, “At least somewhere in our lives we are so far out on the limb, that unless God help us, we are going to fall off.”
Speaking about Jesus’ 11 faithful disciples, Wiseman recounted what God has accomplished through them in the last 2,000 years.
“There is significantly more than 11 [today]. If the Lord would trust the ministry to the original 11, multiply that” to get an idea of what God has planned for the world, he said.
Christians are not in ministry alone, Wiseman reminded the students, noting, “What we are doing is not in our own strength. We are in a partnership with omnipotence. The One who has begun the good work in you will bring it to completion.”
The Jesse and Fannie Northcutt Lectures on Preaching and Pastoral Ministry have been held annually at Southwestern since 1976.

Robyn Little is a newswriter in the Southwestern Seminary office of public relations.

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