NEW ORLEANS (BP)–When asked by renowned pastor Jerry Vines to name the great Bible-teaching preachers of today, Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said he could name only few.
“I was very hard-pressed to get past eight or 10, stretching it also then,” he said during a Feb. 6 chapel service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“I’m not talking about great preachers in general. I’m not talking about great orators. I’m talking about great Bible-teaching preachers!” said Patterson, who, in addition to leading Southeastern in Wake Forest, N.C., was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1998-2000.
Patterson challenged members of the seminary community to not only raise up — but to become — great Bible-teaching preachers. Using the disciples’ encounter with Jesus in Luke 24:13-35, Patterson described both the need and the model for such preachers in today’s churches.
The saints in today’s churches are confused, buffeted by the many and mixed messages of the world, Patterson said. He noted Luke’s account of the disciples’ confusion, evident in their description of Jesus. They described him as a man “who was a prophet” (v. 19) and one whom they “had hoped … was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (v. 21).
“Ladies and gentlemen, the people in the church you’re going to serve wherever you go are in a state of confusion,” Patterson said. “And what is needed today to speak to the confusion of our people is a generation of preachers who are Bible-teaching preachers.”
The model for a Bible-teaching preacher is Jesus himself, Patterson said. In verses 25 through 27 of the passage, he observed the method by which Jesus instructed the wary disciples: expounding what was said in all the Scriptures about himself. Patterson noted that the breadth of this teaching was the whole of the Scripture.
“He took the book from Genesis to Malachi and walked through it and expounded through all of the books the things concerning himself,” Patterson reiterated. “Spurgeon was never more right: there is not a book in the Scriptures that does not lead directly to Jesus Christ.”
Such preaching will have God-sized results in the church, Patterson said, pointing to verse 31, in which Luke reported that “their eyes were opened.” Patterson said he would probably never have the opportunity to be a nationally televised orator, but he told the New Orleans audience of a power greater than eloquence available to them all.
“God has given you a unique something that none of the orators of the world can look to,” he said. “That is, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, when you open the Word of God and begin to explain it, the Spirit of the Living God will open the eyes of the people through your preaching.”
This preaching will not only move the church to discernment and awareness, Patterson said, but will also fill them with passion (v. 32) and prompt them to go and tell others about Jesus Christ (vv. 33-35).
“A Bible-teaching preacher, anointed by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God, when he stands to preach the Word, will leave the people ready to go tell everything that they have known and experienced,” Patterson said.
(BP) file photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: PAIGE PATTERSON.