I am currently working through William Perkins’ “The Art of Prophesying” (a Puritan way of saying ‘preaching’). Sinclair Ferguson does wonders in making this readable for today’s preachers, yet still capturing the spirit of what Perkins communicates. Consider how he begins this book:
There are two parts to prophecy: preaching the Word and public prayer. For the prophet (that is, the minister of the Word) has only two duties. One is preaching the Word, and the other is praying to God in the name of the people: ‘Having … prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith’ (Rom. 12:6); ‘Restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live’ (Genesis 20:7). Notice that in Scripture the word ‘prophecy’ is used of prayer as well as of preaching: ‘The sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals’ (1 Chron. 25:1)… . Thus, every prophet’s task is to speak partly as the voice of God (in preaching), and partly as the voice of the people (in praying). …
Preaching the Word is prophesying in the name and on behalf of Christ. Through preaching those who hear are called into the state of grace, and preserved in it.
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