Monday, January 4, 2010

On John Chrysostom

This quote is from John Stott's classic on preaching entitled Between Two Worlds (Stott, John R. W. Between Two Worlds The Challege of Preaching Today. Boston: Wm. B. Eerdmans Company, 1994).

"From the later patristic period I will take only one example, indeed the most notable, namely John Chrysostom, who preached for twelve years in the Cathedral in Antioch before becoming bishop of Constantinople in A. D. 398. In an exposition of Ephesians 6:13 ('take the full armour of God...'), he voiced his conviction about the unique importance of preaching. Like our human body, he said, the Body of Christ is subject to many diseases. Medicines, correct diet, suitable climate and adequate sleep all help to restore our physical health. But how shall Christ's Body be healed?

One only means and one way of cure has been given us...and that is teaching of the Word. This is the best instrument, this is the best diet and climate; this serves instead of medicine, this serves instead of cautery and cutting; whether it be needful to burn or amputate, this one method must be used; and without it nothing else will avail.

It was more than a century after his death that his greatness as a preacher came to be recognized and he was nicknamed Chrysostomos, 'golden-mouthed': 'he is generally and justly regarded as the greatest pulpit orator of the Greek church. Nor has he any superior or equal among the Latin Fathers. He remains to this day a model for preachers in large cities.'" (20-1)

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