“Preacher” and “Preaching”: Some Lexical Observations | Craig A. Evans

[For the full, published article with its excellent compilation of the subject’s biblical and usage data, see HERE (JETS)]

Response to Article: I am enthused to learn that monologues by “bishops” did not become the mode for Christian meetings until the 4th Century A.D.. Until then, believers just communed in prayer together, ate together, worshipped Jesus, read the Apostles’ teachings (a.k.a. Our present-day New Testament) and commented on them together—all participating. The mode of teaching (as opposed to heralding) in 1st C. A.D. was the Greek Socratic method, which is dialogue of teacher with students. The student learns content rhetorically, while also learning to teach rhetorically. Preaching and preachers were only special events by specially called/designated (by God) persons, especially Good News proclamation to those not yet reached by the Good News of Messiah’s arrival and Atonement and resurrection.

Sophistry was a great Greco-Roman evil that crept into the Church’s practice. Sophism included charging money for people to be taught… and apart from their home communities. That is why my favorite teacher, though “secular” (technically Pagan), is Socrates. He endured false accusation, imprisonment and even death because he kept education pure—free from being a commodity to be bought and sold. He also developed the Socratic method, which allowed students to interplay actively with their teacher.

Aristotle writes: “The market-place for buying and selling should be separate from [the] public square and at a distance from it” (credit https://macroknow.com/books/quotes/q-aristotle.htm)

Socrates is quoted in Plato’s “Apology, 19d, 19e-20a”:

“…if you have heard from anyone that I undertake to teach people and that I make money by it, that is not true either. Although this also seems to me to be a fine thing, if one might be able to teach people, as Gorgias of Leontini and Prodicus of Ceos and Hippias of Elis are. For each of these men, gentlemen, is able to go into any one of the cities and persuade the young men, who can associate for nothing with whomsoever they wish among their own fellow citizens, to give up the association with those men and to associate with them and pay them money and be grateful besides.”

Gregory of Nanzianzus writes: “[W]ords do not belong more to the speaker of them than to him who called them forth.”

From Clement of Rome, (Clement I, 40-46) and from Ignatius of Antioch (Middle) we see that one is correct when saying the late 1st C. and early 2nd C., A.D. saw Christianity defending itself against the power hungry who wanted primacy as bishops. The Apostle John wrote about this Diotrephes in his letters. Sadly, one of John’s own disciples, Ignatius of Antioch was the first to teach that congregations should be loyal to one bishop. Of course, he meant himself. Clement of Rome (1st C, A.D.) wrote rebukes toward those who sought to cast out the multiplicity worthy and good elders and presbyters (elder groups). In other words, some wanted only 1 bishop/elder/pastor and tried to sieze control by ousting others, when the older generation began to die out. Clement supports a multiplicity of caregiver (parent-like) elders and presbyters, condemning the usurpers.

Eventually, Constantine did nationalize (State Institution) that perverted form of Christianity. [Aside: Constantine himself declines baptism until his death, which more than testifies to his ambivalence and hypocrisy.] What is more, any Christians that dissented from that form of Roman Christianity (ex. Donatists) were treated as insane and persecuted, under both Constantine’s edict and (later) increases of persecution by Theodosius.


OTHER RESOURCES:

The Betrayal of Jesus by Eusebius

Lamb’s Harbinger on Clement I

Ignatius of Antioch: a Bloody Diotrephes

Constantine the Puppet

Nicaea: Not Rome’s Authority

Unchurching.com

Reforming the Professional Ministry Paradigm

Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices – Frank Viola, George Barna

Reimagining Church | Frank Viola

Insurgence – The Gospel of the Kingdom | Frank Viola

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