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The Romantic Tradition of Gospel Preaching

January 8th, 2006

“…so that we may preach the gospel…”

(2 Corinthians 10:16)


With so much happening within the local church on any given occasion, the congregation may unconsciously lose sight of the fact that the church is God’s chosen body to proclaim the gospel message (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 3: 10,11; 1 Timothy 3:15). We are surely grateful for the intense work of all full-time and faithful gospel preachers who labor among “the churches of Christ.” But, we are also aware that the churches of Christ are his body on earth (Ephesians 1:22-23). And, as such, his body is to reach out; not just preachers, per se, but every member in support of gospel preaching (see Acts 8:1-4; 11:19-21).

The romantic tradition of gospel preaching was the message of the early church. Such passionate proclamation entails three essential characteristics:

1. Gospel preaching is Bible-based preaching (Acts 2:16,23,25; 3:21).
Gospel preaching is salvation focused (Acts 2:37-38; Rom. 1:15-16).
Gospel preaching is always relevant (Acts 2:39).

A definition of gospel preaching, which we have used for years, is that from the pen of the late Jesse P. Sewell—“Gospel preaching is a man redeemed by grace, through faith, standing in Christ’s stead, by his authority, and under his command, proclaiming his gospel; illustrating, making plain and strong and urgent, the word of God, in such a manner that responsible people can understand and accept it unto life or reject it unto death” (8th Annual Abilene Christian College Lectures On Preaching, 1958).

-Robert M. Housby