I will write a generic reply to the thread so far.

On 'preaching,' from what I have read, there are three Greek verbs translated 'preach.' All of them are used in reference to proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers. (With one possible exception in an instruction to Timothy to 'preach' the word.) So when we talk about 'preaching' in the Biblical sense, we should think primarily of evangelistic proclamation to primarily unbelieving audiences, rather than a style of speaking used in church. What goes on in church is generally 'teaching' rather than 'preaching' if we look at the way the word 'preaching' is used in scripture (in English translation)

The way 'preach' is used today, it can refer to giving a discourse behind a pulpit, or in some Fundamentalist circles in the south, to talking really loud behind a pulpit. (In some churches in the South they consider talking calmly to be 'teaching.' wink

Jesus spoke in the synagogue. From what I have read from Edersheim, a Judean synagogue might have up to 7 people speaking in it in one meeting, doing things like reading scriptures, giving a discourse, translating the discourse, and explaining the discourse or translation thereof. There was apparently some forum, even in Hellenistic synagogues for commenting or disputing as we see in Acts. The synagogues at this stage were not headed by a 'rabbi' who functioned as a Jewish version of a Protestant pastor. There was the archisynagogue role, but also elders and other functionaries. But archisynagogues were apparently not pulpit hogs. Regular Jewish men in the congregation could preach sermons, though travelling rabbis were probably coveted speakers as well.

We must keep in mind, however, that the Bible does not instruct us to follow synagogue liturgy in our church meetings. I Corinthians 14 contains the most detailed instructions on how to conduct ourselves in the parts of our meetings where there is speaking. The passage implies an 'open forum'-- open to a certain extent with certain restrictions on how the speaking is to be conducted. We can also look at examples in Acts. The format for speaking allowed for Agabus to stand in some context and prophecy of a coming famine. In a meeting of the church in Acts 15, the church came together to consider a certain matter. Certain believing Pharisees stood and presented their (wrong) idea about Gentile circumcision. Apparently more than one of them spoke. Considering other evidence, it is possible that the meeting of the apostles and elders that happened after this in Acts 15 could give us some insight into how the other meetings were conducted as well, with different men standing to speak in an orderly manner.

In Acts, we read of 'sermons' in synagogues, but keep in mind the synagogue was a place where the apostles carried out evangelistic activities. If some of the early churches organized as Jewish synagogues (James 2:2?) instead of, or inconjunction with, organizing house churches, then it is likely that they had their own modified order of worship, especially since Paul seems to be arguing in I Corinthians that the Corinthians had to conform to a universal set of church practices for all churches. ('as in all the churches of the saints' and 'What? came the word of God out from you or came it unto you only?')

If we do want to imitate the style of the synagogue, then keep in mind that one archisynogoges invited guests in their synagogue, Paul and Barnabas, that if they had a word of exhortation for the people, to speak.

From what I have read, the Greek word for 'homily' did not refer specifically to an uninterrupted religious speech that followed certain rhetorical rules, as it came to mean over time. No one has asserted this yet that I have seen, btw.

I would also like to point out that I am not against teaching based on verse by verse exposition in a church meeting. When I suggest we do away with the Sunday sermon and replace it with mutual edification, what I am arguing for us more than one speaker per meeting, according to the instructions given in I Corinthians and other passages, rather than one sermon per week.

I do not doubt that the three-point sermon is very ancient. It goes back to at least the days of Aristotle, who taught that method of organising ideas in his 'Rhetoric.' The three-point speech was the educated Greek means of writings for centuries before the birth of Christ. When Christianity came to Greek speaking areas, it makes sense that some of the Greeks would have used this manner to present teachings. I do not see any three-part sermons or letters that follow this pattern in the New Testament, however. I view this as a cultural means of expressing ideas, one that is quite popular nowadays, but not as a divinely inspired method for organizing sermons.

By the way, I only found out what the emergent movement was a few months ago. I read that some emergent churches are going in this direction, too. But what I am saying is older than the emergent movement. It dates back to the first century. Also, groups like the Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, churches in circles associated with Watchman Nee in China, perhaps some of the Anabaptists, and various house church movements hold to this idea as well, because they are taught in scripture. (I think the many of the Brethren ended up with a time of exhortation and planned sermons as well. I know of some very Fundamentalist house church people who hold to similar beliefs. I have never read any books by McLaren, and most of what I know about him is that a lot of people on Christian discussion forums do not like some of his ideas about the Bible and other religions. I am concerned with having Biblical meetings, not with being 'emergent.' I happen to believe that Biblical meetings are culturally universal and apply to all cultures, not just post-moderns. If emergents happen to believe in something Biblical, I do not believe we should reject that thing just because it agrees with the 'emergent' movement.

And no, not all have gifts of teaching. But teaching is not the only speaking gift. I Corinthians 14 mentions several things that can be shared, psalms, teachings, revelations, tongues, and interpretation. So speaking (or singing) in a church meeting should not be limited to teaching. Paul gives specific instructions for how to speak in tongues with intepretation and how to prophecy in an orderly manner, instructions which he said were commandments of the Lord. May we disobey these commands and replace them with a hymn sandwich liturgy (hymns, offering, communion, hymns.) Romans 12 also mentions the gift of exhortation.

Again, when I say get rid of the Sunday sermon, I am not saying get rid of teaching the Bible. I am saying get rid of the idea that one person should give a really long sermon, and everyone else be silent. Instead, we should follow the instructions the Bible gives for church meetings.

Pilgrim wrote
>>The two texts which you quoted, 1Cor 14:26 and Heb 10:24, 25 do speak of what some assemblies were doing at the time that Paul wrote them. However, there is no mandate in those passages which would direct the Church as to a universal polity for the Church. To find out what should be done, one must consult biblical passages (didactic) which deal specifically with this subject. Those can be found in the Pastoral Epistles where Paul sets forth particular elements concerning the structure of the Church, e.g., the ordaining of Elders and Deacons, their authority and responsibilities. Paul told Timothy that he was to "preach the word" (2Tim 4:2) which is to be distinguished from teaching (Col 1:28) in that it includes an authoritative aspect to it where Scripture is read, then expounded and then applied to the assembly of believers. For this reason, Christ appointed some to be "pastors and teachers"<<

I find it to be potentially dangerous to take Paul's commandments to churches and pick and choose which apply today. The author of Hebrews commanded believers not to forsake assembling together. Most of us gladly accept that command as applicable to the church today, because it is one of the few, or only, command in scripture telling us to assemble. Why should we then reject the part that says 'exhort one another.' Notice the passage does not say whether they were exhorting one another, but commands them to do so. Why would the command not to forsake assembling apply, but the command to exhort one another not apply?

Also, why would the instructions to Timothy to preach the word apply today, but not the commands to the church in Corinth? That seems to me to be a rather arbitrary way of applying scripture. One could argue that many passages you believe are binding are not 'mandated' for the church.

For my reasoning that Paul was arguing based on a universally applicable format for church meetings, see above. I would also like to add that Paul both commended and rebuked the Corinthians for following the ordinances he had left them. He instructed the Thessalonians to hold to the traditions he taught as well. Apparently there was an apostolic way of doing things they were required to follow. Since Paul commanded churches to follow his traditions, his way of doing things, that is a good argument that following such traditions are mandated. When we instructions from Paul on how to have meetings, we need to pay attention, especially if these instructions are called commandments of the Lord.

>>Paul told Timothy that he was to "preach the word" (2Tim 4:2) which is to be distinguished from teaching (Col 1:28) in that it includes an authoritative aspect to it where Scripture is read, then expounded and then applied to the assembly of believers. For this reason, Christ appointed some to be "pastors and teachers"<<

Paul did tell Timothy to preach the word. Maybe that took the form of a traditional homily on the scriptures, but maybe it did not. The way 'word' is used in the New Testament, it is highly unlikely that Paul had in mind confining Timothy's preaching to expounding texts of scripture, especially since the New Testament scriptures were not completed and compiled in this time. Timothy preached a message he had heard, orally, from Paul and possibly others, and preached it to others. (II Timothy 2:2.) Paul made use of the Old Testament in his preaching. It is possible that Timothy 'preached' like Paul did in the synagogue, using the OT. But if the passage _could_ have been applied this way, that does not mean that it _must_ be understood this way.

And it may be a bit anachronistic to read the idea of a modern-style sermon (with three points or a verse by verse homily) back into Paul's instructions here. I do not see any basis for your assertion that preaching is distinguished from teaching because it is supposedly more authoratative. Christ 'taught' with authority, and not as the scribes.

Another point to consider is whether Paul has in mind Timothy's evangelistic and in-church ministries together in this verse, and is instructing Timothy to engage in evangelistic preaching as well. Paul did exhort Timothy to do the work of an evangelist.

Since other scripture indicates that various brethren could speak in a church meeting, and Paul's and Peter's instructions for the saints to faithfully use their spiritual gifts (Romans 12, I Peter 4), then it makes sense that Timothy's preaching of the word would be included in the church meeting along with these other activities.