Great Preachers through the Centuries

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Who are some of the church’s great preachers of the past? Dr. Michael Pasquarello III shares with us what makes each of the following preachers exemplary models for us to follow

-Augustine of Hippo
-John Chrysostom
-Martin Luther
-John Wesley
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Dr. Michael Pasquarello III is the Granger E. and Anna A. Fisher Professor of Preaching at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has published many books including a forthcoming book titled John Wesley: Homiletic Theologian. Michael and his wife, Patti, have two children.

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  1. the Internet can never replace the sort of cointmmuy which exists between professors and students in the classroom, lunchroom and office. I agree. But those aren’t the only options. Did the Apostle Paul start a seminary and pull men away from their churches to sit in classrooms and learn? Do you suppose that’s what Timothy did to fulfill the charge Paul had given him to pass the teaching on to other faithful men who could do the same? Or did they teach believers in the contexts of the local church and local church ministry?Clark asserts that seminary does not take men from the local church, but merely shifts them temporarily from one local church to another. But let’s be real about it. If I have a promising young man in my local church who is beginning to exhibit his calling as a leader in children’s ministry or youth ministry and he goes away to seminary, that man has been taken from the local church where he is already serving and may be very much needed. My local church the one left behind has suffered a loss by his departure. In a small church, the loss could be truly debilitating.Clark makes a reasonable point that local church pastors do not have the time to stay abreast of all the relevant academic developments. My question is, why can’t seminaries provide a support function to local churches? In fact, they already do to some extent. Why not expand on that to help facilitate training at the local church level for men who are called to pastor?Of course, if someone wants to do translation work, that person will need to master the biblical languages and that is a purely academic exercise. Seminary, or something like it, makes sense for those individuals. But most pastors don’t need that kind of linguistic training. In preparing to write a book on pastoral training, a pastor friend of mine surveyed hundreds of pastors, including a number of seminary professors, about the need for biblical language training. The overwhelming response was that pastors need enough training to facilitate their interaction with technical commentaries, but typically don’t need or use linguistic skills beyond that level. There were exceptions, of course, but that was the general consensus. In fact, seminary professors responded that students with three years of Greek tended to think they had a greater mastery of the language than they really did, which often led them to overreach their abilities when exegeting passages of Scripture.If we don’t find a seminary model in the NT, where does that educational model come from? When did we begin using it to train up pastors and why? Has the transition to a seminary model had unintended consequences? Has it changed not only the method but also the content of what is taught? How has it affected the average Christian’s attitude and approach to theology? And what impact has that had on the way most Christians think and live their lives? The answers to these questions might surprise you.

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