This is the second in a series of five articles from Langham Preaching, a ministry of Langham Partnership, which seeks to work in fellowship with national leaders to establish local and national preaching movements. This series highlights the five focal areas that shape the curriculum of Langham Preaching and also guide which materials are published within our imprint Langham Preaching Resources.
“The secret is found not just in mastering certain techniques but in being mastered by certain convictions” (John Stott)
He moved his laptop aside; in front of him was a bible and a cup of coffee. Sitting alone in one of our classrooms, Pastor Anton looked very serious in taking notes. With confidence he took a selfie and then busily updated his status on Instagram: “faithful, clear and relevant”. He has been pastoring a church in a small area in West Java for more than twenty-five years and about eight years ago he joined a Level 1 Langham Preaching seminar that changed his life and ministry. “Through Langham Preaching I met Jesus for a second time, and now, for real, this training helped me to learn to trust him and the Bible.”
Conviction on God, Christ, and the Spirit
There are many pastors and preachers who do not have a strong conviction on God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Langham Preaching dedicates one session on TRUTHS TO BELIEVE in the Level 1 seminar that gives the participants basic principles on the truths about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Throughout the seminars or training these BASIC TRUTHS will be repeated again from time to time.
“I don’t believe that the Bible is the word of God. Don’t you know that all the authors are human beings just like you and me? The Bible is just an ancient document, and we need to read it with our critical mind.” said Pastor Anton on the Level 1 seminar eight years ago. I was shocked. I had not prepared myself for that kind of question.
Three years after the seminar I met him again, this time in a Facilitators Training seminar. I couldn’t believe my eyes, he was a new person. “Langham Preaching helped me to see Christ as my saviour and helped me to believe that the Bible is the word of God.” He explained to me. “When did that happen?” I asked. “After the seminar I had a lot of thoughts and the books that Langham gave me helped me a lot”, he answered.
Conviction on the Authority of the Bible
In every seminar and training, the Bible is the center of all our activities. In Langham Preaching we believe that the Bible is the word of God. It is not just a collection of ancient documents that keep God’s word. The Bible is the living word for living people from the living God.
In Langham Preaching seminars, the session on GOD’S BIG PICTURE is one of the most fun and interactive sessions that teach participants to look at the Bible as a collection of sixty-six ancient Books, written by the human authors from different periods of time, yet has a central theme and a unity of purpose which make the books into One Book.
“In my seminary, I was taught how to criticize the Bible, not to believe in it, that is why it was hard for me to preach it”, Pastor Anton said to me. “How did Langham Preaching help you to believe that the Bible is the word of God?” I asked. “Langham Preaching helped me to fall in love with the Bible. It is the word of God, a treasure!! The more I study it the more I fall in love with it.”
Conviction on Expository Preaching
According to John Stott, “Exposition refers to the content of the sermon (biblical truth) rather than its style (a running commentary). To expound Scripture is to bring out of the text what is there and expose it to view. The expositor opens what appears to be closed, makes plain what is obscure, unravels what is knotted, and unfolds what is tightly packed.” (Between Two Worlds).
Langham Preaching is a movement of biblical-expository preaching, in which it is believed that expository preaching is very important. Not only does expository preaching have a high view on the authority of the Bible, it also teaches preachers and congregations to study the Bible carefully. Expository preaching does not only explain the text; it shows our people how to interpret the text, and to apply it in their situation of life. A strong pulpit that teaches the word of God will form mature believers and help them to be a light in society.
Pastor Anton explained, “Preparing a sermon using Langham Preaching’s methods is like digging a treasure. I always learn new things, it feels like ‘discovering the precious hidden pearl’.”
Conviction on the Church of God
In Langham Preaching we believe that God rules and takes care of his people through his word. God’s word nurtures, directs, forms and renews churches. God wants his church to grow into maturity and, thus, presents God’s servants to teach correct knowledge.
John Stott says, “Churches live, grow and flourish by the Word of God, and they languish and die without it… whenever the Word of God is faithfully expounded and applied, congregations grow in both size and depth.”
Pastor Anton said “I can see the changes in my congregation . . . their knowledge of the Bible is growing, and some of them show their interest to study more.”
Conviction on Preachers
Langham Preaching believes that the preacher is a shepherd who is trusted by God to love, nurture and care for the congregation with the word of God. Therefore, all preachers are called and sanctified to devote themselves to the tasks of teaching and preaching.
It means that all preachers are not only to be experts in researching the Bible academically, but digging and exposing the Bible with the purpose of teaching it to their people in a simple way, although it has deep and rich meaning in it.
In addition, the preacher must also expose and know the life of their congregation so that the sermon that they deliver on the pulpit becomes relevant.
John Stott said: “We [preachers] are not just miners extracting ore and leaving the landscape desolate. We are skilled mapmakers, carefully observing the landscape of the text so that we can help our listeners see all its features and follow the paths and highways God has placed there. We often speak about ideas to our listeners—just as the Bible regularly does. But we should try to convey to our listeners as much of the tone and feeling, of the impressions and aims of the text as possible.”
Finally, Pastor Anton said “Langham Preaching helped me to grow as a preacher, now I understand that my confidence is not in a robe that I wear, or the title that I have, my confidence is that I am a servant of God, trusted by God, to bring his word to the people that he loves.”
Article By Dwi Handayani, Director for Asia & South Pacific, Langham Preaching