“A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:8
On Saturday 24 November, we invited preachers to attend a practical workshop on Biblical Exposition. This was the second workshop on Biblical Preaching that we have held at our Mission Base in Cape Town. The workshop was largely based on the Biblical Preaching Handbook which we published this year.
The first session dealt with Reformation Preaching. We observed that throughout History, God has kept for Himself men who faithfully proclaimed His Word, even in the face of death. Today, we need more men who will boldly proclaim God’s Word in this sin-soaked world. According to Operation World (2010), 75% of the South African population claimed to be Christian, and 21% of the population claimed to be Evangelical. In 2015, the general household survey of South Africa claimed that 86% of South Africans were affiliated with Christianity; however, only 52% of those Christians were involved in church on a weekly basis.
Even though only 21% of the population is Evangelical, the basic principles of Christianity should have a heavy impact on South Africa, considering 86% of South Africans are affiliated with the Christian Faith. How then do we reconcile these figures with the rampant crime, corruption and wickedness of society? How do we explain that the most popular political parties in the country are secular, humanist and socialist?
It is apparent that many of the “Christians” in South Africa are unregenerate and uninformed. We desperately need salvation and Reformation. I believe this can only be achieved through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit and a return to Biblical Preaching (Ezra 7:10; Rom. 10:13; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).
Our workshop continued as Dr Hammond presented Case Studies of Ulrich Zwingli, Heinrich Bullinger and John Calvin. At the end of the workshop, one man said he appreciated the emphasis on different Reformers. He did not even know there were men other than Martin Luther and John Calvin who bravely worked to Reform the Church.
One of our Missionaries, Abraham, taught the Discovery Bible Study method. The participants learned how to let the Bible speak for itself. This method of Bible study seeks to understand, explain and apply any Bible passage in a way that does not require many outside resources. The participants loved this session. One man said that he has now learned that if the Bible does not speak he should not speak!
Hunter Combs led the next two sessions, teaching us how to practice accurate exegesis. If we learned one thing, it was: context, context, context! Hunter laboured to teach everyone practical ways to understand the Bible in its original setting and then draw Theological principles that can be applied to our lives today.
Finally, I taught on Practical Sermon Preparation. By this stage of the workshop, many questions about church practice and doctrine had been asked. I took this time to help people understand how to develop doctrine from the whole counsel of Scripture and to be cautious of applying narrative Scriptures without taking the reason for the whole narrative into account. Questions such as Paul’s unusual miracles and the role of music in worship services were discussed and answered.
At the end of the day we had a time of open Q&A. It was clear that people came from different backgrounds with a variety of challenges. Some people seemed to face bizarre church practices back home. Together as a group of believers we tried to help each other to understand what the Bible says on different Theological subjects and how we can be a blessing to our home churches. We also discussed what to do when one disagrees with one’s pastor on a given Theological subject or church practice. It was a wonderful time of mutual encouragement and edification for all.
The most common response we received, after the day’s presentations were over, was how informative all the lectures were. One man said he has been a pastor for decades, but “Today I have learned so much and I thoroughly enjoyed myself”. Many others commented that the workshop “Excellent”, “insightful”, “informative”, “powerful”.
Please continue in prayer for all who attended this workshop. Pray that the pastor’s mouths will be filled with God’s Word and their preaching will be empowered by the Spirit.
Video recordings from Saturday’s event will be uploaded on our video gallery as well as our vimeo account. Audio from the lectures will be uploaded on sermonaudio.com. Our IT department is in the process of making these resources available.
If you live in the Cape Town area and you would like a Frontline team to present a workshop or seminar in your church, school or community, please contact me directly. We can dedicate a day or more to Biblical Worldview, Biblical Preaching, Discernment, Spiritual Warfare, Security and Survival, Discipleship, Biblical Ethics and more.
Copies of the Biblical Preaching Handbook and the Biblical Preaching and Discernment Workshop Boxset are available from Christian Liberty Books. Please continue to pray for our upcoming Biblical Worldview Summit 4-9 January and our Great Commission Course 4-23 January.
“Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” 2 Timothy 4:2.
Rev. John Clifford
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021 689 4480