Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ligon Duncan: Preaching the Whole Counsel of God

Ligon Duncan, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, MS, gave the second address at the T4G Conference. He charged us to make sure we are "Preaching from the Old Testament." This would seem to be a harmless, even obvious, charge since we were Christian pastors who understood that we preach the Bible, right? Yet, upon reflection Lig (as he is affectionately called), reminded me how much of the Bible we do neglect in our regular exposition of the Word. Personally, I was brought up hearing and seeing the Bible preached, but it was a truncated presentation because 90% of the preaching was from the New Testament. Subsequently, I considered my calling to be one who preached first and foremost what Jesus said (the Gospels) and secondly what those who knew Jesus said about what Jesus said (the Epistles). Yet Lig reminded us that in the truest since, Jesus said it all. The Bible is the Word of Christ to us. Paul reminded Timothy, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching..." (2Tim. 3:16) therefore, "Preach the Word..." (2Tim. 4:2). It was not until my heart and eyes where opened to Reformed theology did I realize the necessity of preaching the whole Bible, the whole counsel of God. To this end, Lig told us to "Preach Christ from the Old Testament."

The Old Testament speaks of Christ coming to the earth. The Gospels speak of Christ on the earth. Acts and the Epistles speak of Christ continued work having ascended from the earth. The whole of Scripture proclaims Christ, therefore if we would be faithful to our Lord's work, we must be prepared to preach the whole of Scripture. Even in this, our Lord graciously gave us His example, "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27). Thanks Lig, for your admonition and example.

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