The Westminster Larger Catechism asks in Question 160, “What is required of those that hear the Word preached? The answer is, “It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they…receive the truth…as the Word of God…” (Obviously the answer is heavily edited for emphasis.) Did you read that correctly? Preaching is to be received as the Word of God.
Driving the distinctives?
Big-group Bible study?
What is preaching?
The Apostle Paul understood that preaching is a proclamation of the Word of God by heralds or ambassadors called to speak the very words of Christ in an official capacity. The preacher is to bring forward the Word of God; not just the Word of God written—the Bible—but the Word of God proclaimed—which is preached. Faithful preaching is to be received as the Word of God.
When you sit under the preaching of God’s Word by a man who is qualified, examined, and ordained to the task, the hearer must realize that it is not just the preacher speaking from the pulpit. There are two voices. Jesus Christ himself is speaking to his church. In Ephesians 2:17, the Apostle Paul told the Church at Ephesus that Jesus Christ came to them and preached.
“…He came and preached to you…” Who is the he? It is Jesus.
Either Jesus traveled 1500 miles post-resurrection to preach face-to-face or he preached through the means of an ambassador speaking his words. We know it is the latter.
A Westminster—and more fully, a confessional reformed—understanding of biblical preaching is that preaching is Christ’s message to his church.