His post is in response to a review of his recent book What is a Healthy Church Member in which the reviewer noted his concern with Thabiti's term "expositional listening" and how the traditional worship service built around the sermon undermines the priesthood of all believers. (I wonder if he is referring to Eric's blog post ????)
Here is what Thabiti writes:
The fatal flaw in my reviewer’s comments was his tendency to think that the service at its best is a conversation between man and man, a human dialogue, a gathering of people of rather equal status speaking to one another. But is that really what’s happening in preaching and in the gathered worship of the church?
The very structure reflects a running dialogue–not between the people gathered, though we “speak to one another in songs,” etc.–but fundamentally between God and His people.
When God speaks through the exposition of His word there certainly will be many reactions, but as our Sovereign speaks there should not be an interruption in favor of our pooling our comments and sharing our insights. Our best wisdom is foolishness before God. Better to first listen to the One who speaks, then talk with one another about it afterward.These conclusions imply that God only speaks through a well prepared expositional sermon delivered from a pulpit by a professional pastor. God speaks beginning with the call to worship and ending with the benediction. Everything else is just "after" talk.
Brothers and sisters, let me encourage you. God dwells within his body, the church. There is no part of the body that is not necessary, not needed, or just an afterthought. We are all servants of Jesus Christ and we are expected to minister to one another as He leads us to when we gather together. Ministry is for professionals and we are all in the business of doing His business of advancing the kingdom therefore we are all professionals and our reward is in Heaven with Christ. There is something very special about faithful preaching that is true to the Word of God and we are ALL called to be preaching that word. We are not all , apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers but we are something special. We are members in the body of Christ. The preeminent, righteous, sinless, soveriegn, benevolent, maker and master of the heavens and earth dwells within you. Walk by faith in that truth and study God's Word. God will speak through you.