David Murray

Professor, Pastor, Author

What Is a Preacher? (10 Wrong Answers)

There are so many false ideas out about what a preacher is meant to be. Some common misconceptions are:

  • An entertainer: someone who is there to make me feel happy.
  • A curator: someone who is there to manage the museum and make sure nothing ever changes.
  • A lecturer: someone who is there to teach, to transmit religious facts and information, but not to change my life.
  • A pundit: someone who offers Christian commentary on important current events.
  • A socializer: someone who is friendly and socially skillful, who won’t embarrass us at weddings and funerals.
  • A social worker: someone who fixes all my family problems.
  • A ritualist: someone who we use for baptisms, communions, etc., and as long as he gets the form and routine right at these events we’ll tolerate him in between times.
  • A manager: a sort of ecclesiastical CEO who is adept at managing people and paper.
  • An angel: someone who gets everything right, who never makes a mistake, who prays and preaches perfectly on every occasion without ever offending us.
  • A psychologist: a cheap therapist to help with my emotions.

Of course, there are elements of truth in some of these ideas. The preacher must teach, he must at times offer spiritual commentary on our culture, he must get involved in people’s problems, etc. But these are not the primary functions and these are not the categories and terms the Bible uses to describe a preacher. We’ll look at some of these biblical terms in the next few days.

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About David Murray

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He blogs at HeadHeartHand . and you can follow him on Twitter @DavidPMurray .

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