As a theologian, the pastor must be known for what he teaches as well as for what he knows, affirms, and believes. The health of the church depends upon pastors who infuse their congregations with deep biblical and theological conviction, and the primary means of this transfer of conviction is the preaching of the Word of God.
Preaching is an exercise in the theological exposition of Scripture.
Congregations that are fed nothing more than ambiguous “principles” supposedly drawn from God’s Word are doomed to a spiritual immaturity that will quickly become visible in compromise, complacency, and a host of other spiritual ills.
Paul specifically ties this theological ministry to the task of preaching-understood to be the the pastor’s supreme calling.
As Martin Luther rightly affirmed, the preaching of the Word of God is the first mark of the church. Where it is found, there one finds the church. Where it is absent, there is no church, whatever others may claim. 2 Timothy 4:1-2, 3:16
It is through the expository preaching of the Word of God that biblical knowledge is imparted to the congregation, and God’s people are armed with deep theological conviction. In other words, the pastor’s conviction about theological preaching becomes the foundation for the transfer of these convictions into the hearts of God’s people.
The divine agent of this transfer is the Holy Spirit, who opens the hearts, eyes, and ears to hear, understand, and receive the Word of God
But the preacher has a responsibility too-to be clear, specific, systematic, and comprehensive in setting out the biblical truth that will frame a biblical understanding of the Christian faith and the Christian life.
s All Christian preaching is experiential preaching, set before the congregation by a man who is possessed by deep theological passion, specific theological convictions, and eagerness to see these convictions shared by his congregation.
That is why faithful preaching cannot consist in the preacher simply presenting a set of theological options to the congregation. Instead, the pastor should stand ready to define, defend, and document his own deep convictions, drawn from his careful study of the Word of God and his knowledge of faithful teaching of the church.
In other words the experiential nature of the pastor’s confession is personal. The fact that the preacher is speaking from within the circle of faith, as a passionate and committed believer, not from a position of detachment as a mere observer.
And this stance adds both authority and authenticity to the pastoral ministry.
Without these, the pastor can end up sounding more like a theological consultant than a faithful shepherd.
The congregation must be able to observe the pastor basing his life and ministry upon these truths, not merely teaching them in the pulpit.
As Paul said, every preacher stands under the same mandate that Paul handed down to Timothy:
“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. @ 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Which is to say, preacher we are the stewards of sound words and the guardians of doctrinal treasure that has been entrusted to us at the very core of our calling as pastors. The pastor who is n theologian is not pastor.