The Preacher is a Herald

The Preacher Is... Part II

[Find Part I Here] 

Preaching the Bible is a matter of stewardship. The preacher is not called to reinvent the wheel. He is called to deliver the goods. John Stott, in his book The Preacher’s Portrait, gives five roles the preacher plays. The first is a steward. The second is a herald.

The preacher is not called to reinvent the wheel. He is called to deliver the goods. Click To Tweet

The preacher as herald deals with the preacher’s proclamation and appeal.

“The herald has good news to proclaim to the whole world.”[1] 

The herald is in the office of the “town crier” who proclaims good news to all. In places like Medieval England, where literacy rates were extremely low, the town crier would stand in the open town squares and proclaim news that was important for the people of the village. He gave public announcements on behalf of the courts, direct messages from the king, or news that was pertinent for all to hear.

As a herald, what and how does the preacher proclaim?

Paul reveals the content and nature of our message in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21:
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The herald makes a passionate appeal to the listeners to be reconciled to God. The preacher must understand that every sermon, whether it is preached to 15 people or to 15,000 people, is an appeal to the hearers for reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ.

It is the job of the herald to also be a steward. The herald must stick to the message, because the herald is a steward of the message from the king. Stott quotes, “It was essential that the herald be a man of considerable self-control. The proclamation must be exactly as it was received. As the mouthpiece of his master he dare not add his own interpretation.”[2]

What is the message that the herald delivers?

The herald delivers what the New Testament refers to as the kerygma. C.H. Dodd defines this word we translate “gospel” or “message” as “the public proclamation of the Christian message to the non-Christian world.”

Elements of the kerygma include:

  • The proclamation of the death, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus.
  • The proclamation that Jesus is Lord and Christ.
  • A summons to repent and receive forgiveness of sins.

The herald delivers the message of the divine person and the saving work of Christ.

As a herald, the preacher must keep in mind both appeal and proclamation. There should be no appeal without proclamation, and no proclamation without appeal. The proclamation is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the appeal is “be reconciled to God!”

Go To Part III Here: The Preacher is a Witness

[1] Stott, p. 33.

[2] Stott, p. 37.