Tuesday, 26 February 2013

LAY PREACHING



Except for a period of time at the beginning of the church, and a few exceptions in the course of two  thousand years, preaching has been consistently off-limits to the non-ordained. However, this consistent exclusion has never been quietly accepted or even readily observed. 

So it is understandable, in these days of so much change in the Church, that the question of authorization for lay preaching is still being discussed. In this article, “preaching” means speaking on religious themes publicly in churches or oratories, at  liturgical or nonliturgical events. We are not concerned with street preaching or other forms of evangelization that might be carried out by individuals in the public forum.

The format will be to review, in broad strokes, practices surrounding preaching through the history of the Church, but to focus more closely on legislation and other documents issued since Vatican II that refer to lay preaching specifically. Finally, we will draw some conclusions about the current state of authorization for lay preaching, both liturgical and nonliturgical, based on the history presented.

The early church

In the early centuries of the church, the community was unified and charismatic. Preachers preached because they received a gift from the Spirit, which was then recognized by the community, accepted, and exercised for the benefit of all. The authorization to preach came from the Spirit of God and from the community. As we know, charismatic preaching disappeared as the church became more complex, widespread, doctrinal, and sharply divided into clergy and laity. 

Authorization from charism and the community was too unpredictable to fit into the developing system. This  lack of acceptance of the  charismatic reached its zenith in 1215, when the Fourth Lateran Council condemned as heretics any and all who dared preach without proper authorization. In other words, the very act of unauthorized preaching itself was declared heretical. From that point on, until the twentieth century, preaching in all its forms was the domain of bishops, priests, and some others in minor or major orders.

 Motivation for this severe limitation was two-fold. First, the hierarchy was concerned that correct doctrine be preached to the people. Second, preaching was too powerful a tool, especially for adult catechesis, to be haphazardly regulated.

1 comment:

  1. THE OPPOSITE OF A POSITIVE

    The opposite of a positive is always a negative. When the positive is stated it is understood that absent the positive, that the negative occurs or has occurred. Example: If a person is alive, that is a positive. The negative is the opposite, which is, a person is dead.

    Matthew 24:11-13.....13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

    The positive stated: He who endures will be saved.
    The negative implied: He who does not endure will not be saved.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

    The positive stated: He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.
    The negative axiom: He who has not been baptized will not be saved.

    Luke 7:50 And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

    The positive stated: Her faith saved her.
    The negative inference: Without faith she would not have been saved.

    Romans 9:27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sands of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;

    The positive stated: A remnant of Israel will be saved.
    The negative understanding: The whole of Israel will not be saved.

    John 10:9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

    The positive stated: If anyone enters through Jesus he will be saved.
    The negative implication: By not entering through Jesus you will remain unsaved.

    Acts 2:41,47 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there added about three thousand souls. 47...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    The positive stated: The Lord was adding the saved to His church. (The saved were those who believed the gospel and were baptized.)
    The negative implication: Those who did not believe Peter's message and were not
    baptized, were not saved, and they were not added to the church.

    Romans 10:13 for "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."

    The positive: If you recognize the authority of the Lord and appeal to His authority you will be saved.
    The negative implication: If you deny the authority of the Lord, and do not call on Him, you will be lost.

    1 Peter 3:20-21...safely through water. 21 Corresponding to that , baptism now saves you---not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience---through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    The positive: Baptism saves you.
    The negative axiom: Those who are not baptized remain unsaved.

    THE OPPOSITE OF A POSITIVE IS ALWAYS A NEGATIVE!

    Revelation 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

    The positive stated: Remain faithful in order to receive the crown of life.
    The implied negative : If you do not remain faithful you will not receive the crown of life.

    THE OPPOSITE OF A POSITIVE?


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