What do we mean when we use the term primitive preaching? It is the epistemological question this article will attempt to make clear.
In the book of Genesis, third chapter, 15th verse, we find these words; “and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Men and women who have studied this passage over the centuries referred to it as the Protoevangelium.
Here God, Himself announces that the offspring of Eve will in the future crush the offspring of the serpent…interpreted to be a sign of ultimate victory over evil.
However, this is not the primitive preaching that we are referring to here. From that time until the birth of Christ, Major and Minor Prophets, priests and others look for the birth of The Son of God.
They preached that He would be the one who would make everything right again. It is so that Jesus came preaching and teaching the gospel of the kingdom; “the people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt: 4:16-17). This is what Jesus first began to preach.
As Jesus’ ministry unfolds the more you learn about all the people who followed Him from Galilee. Jesus began teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
Even many more people followed him from Galilee and from Decapolis and from Jerusalem and from Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
It was at this time that we saw Jesus teaching his disciples, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…
For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt: 5:1-20).
Now what is clear up to this point?
Preachers of the Protoevangelium
Jesus Christ, Son of God
As the time of the passion of Christ starts coming to pass Jesus begins establishing a new age.
Jesus prays for the disciples and all those who shall believe through them.
Jesus establishes a supper, and commands it should be done in remembrance of Him.
Jesus gives His disciples a great commission and commands them to wait for the promise of The Father before ministry can get started.
All of these things have been done before we can really get to primitive preaching. Primitive preaching is about the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is what preachers referred to as the Kerygma. What makes this kind of preaching important is it’s power to save. And if that is, indeed, the case... What are we preaching to the unsaved?
Think about it… if, what we are saying on Sunday mornings is a teaching then, how will sinners come to know and understand salvation through Christ. Christ needs to be preached that men might believe.
Then we will teach them how to live as Christ has commanded. In other words, more primitive preaching and more discipleship in the church…a better balance.
Primitive Preaching of the kerygma is apostolic.
On the day of Pentecost we see the apostle Peter, standing up and delivering his first sermon.
This is the first sermon ever preached in the church age, after Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost, that is, after the coming of the Holy Spirit.
If men would preach what is preached here, what a difference would exist in men’s lives, in the church, and in world history.
Preachers of the Kerygma
Peter raised his voice and declared:
Text: Joel 2:28-32
This is the day of God's Savior: Jesus of Nazareth
His resurrection: Ended the agony of death
Peter’s sermon continues on through Acts 2: 25 – 36 where he focuses on the proofs of the resurrection.
The proofs include the prophecy of David--- this prophecy concerned Jesus: Peter’s testimony: the eye—witnesses, the disciples: the exaltation and ascension of Jesus into Heaven.
What is important about preaching is that we preach the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is by this foolishness of preaching that Almighty God has decreed that He will save sinners.
It’s not by singing and dancing, it's not by feeding the hungry nor by healing those who are sick and all of these are essential in the kingdom, but it's by preaching that men will be saved.
We preachers should learn to distinguish between what is preaching and what is teaching.
Too often we teach in a preaching moment without having ever preached the gospel.
This leaves sinners without a bridge into the kingdom because they can only hear and accept the gospel.
The gospel is the key to the kingdom.
Related Reference Books
C.H.Dodd: The Apostolic Preaching and its DevelopmentsBaker Book House; Grand Rapids, Michigan 1980