MINISTRY OF PROCLAMATION
By Bishop Randy Barnett
THE HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE
God desires to speak to man. Through His words He has revealed Himself and has relayed truths about Himself. He
continues to do that today. The era of time prior to the birth of Israel was a season in which God spoke directly with men
like Adam, Noah, Enoch, and Abraham. Once He designated a people for Himself, He appointed leaders who became His
mouthpieces through whom He spoke to the masses, these were His priests. The priesthood was created by God and one
of the primary purposes for it was to give clarity and understanding to the Law, or to Word of God. God revealed His
divine delivery method for imparting Truth by creating the priesthood, and it was through these anointed persons that He
I find it interesting that God did not choose angels to be His primary proclaimers on the earth. He chose fallible man.
Why? Man had divine authority on the earth, (Genesis 1:26-28) not angels; therefore, God needed man to be the primary
conduit through which His truth could enter the realm of the earth.
GOD’S METHOD FOR DELIVERING TRUTH.
Priests and prophets alike are seen in the pages of the Bible proclaiming God’s truths to His people. When God wanted to
speak, He raised up a “proclaimer” to speak on His behalf. (Amos 3:7) As the New Testament period began, John the
Baptist, Jesus, and His disciples all carried on the tradition of proclaiming the Word of God to mankind. From this historic
glance we discover that the proclamation is God’s way of delivering Truth, we also find that proclamation is not man’s
idea but it is God’s idea. It is not as some orthodox folks declare that the evangelical Christian pulpit is a man-centered
doctrine; on the contrary, it is a Word-centered doctrine. Our emphasis is always on the message, not on the messenger.
Proclamation is the means by which God imparts Truth to all who have ears to hear.
In defense of the evangelical pulpit, allow me to say that the great apostle Paul did not emphasize to young Timothy the
doctrine of Holy Communion, or praise and worship, or church growth principles, or even prayer, he told him to preach
the Word. (II Timothy 4:2) Of course we know how important these other doctrines are to us and each has its place and its
purpose. But even these we come to know and understand through the ministry of proclamation, and apart from
understanding, the efficacies of these doctrines are lost to us. So we see that spiritual growth and maturation is the
result of knowledge and knowledge is imparted through the proclamation of the Word of God which is accomplished
through His chosen ones.
When Paul instructs young Titus to appoint elders in every city (Titus 1:5) he goes on to guide him as to how to identify
these elders. He himself even utilized the ministry of proclamation to reveal these truths to his young protégé. Take a
moment to read his instruction:
“Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught,
that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort
and convict those who contradict.”
The elder in the Church of Jesus Christ, as we know, is a fivefold minister (I Timothy 3:1-7; Ephesians 4:11) this person is
called by God as a leader and overseers of His people. The elder must have a sound doctrinal foundation in himself from
which he is equipped by the Holy Spirit to proclaim Truth to others. (II Timothy 3:8 and 4:3-4) Notice from this verse that
the elder holds fast what he has been taught. This statement implies that proclamation has been at work imparting Truth
to him. Paul goes on to proclaim that an elder must be able to teach, (I Timothy 3:2) which reveals to us one of the
important historic qualifications for eldership in the Church of Jesus Christ, which is to teach, or, in other words, to
practice the ministry of proclamation.
Refuting False Doctrine.
There is a false doctrine that has arisen from time to time throughout history that espouses the belief that there is no
longer the need for teachers or preachers in the Body of Christ. The general idea is that because the Holy Spirit dwells
within every born again believer and since He is the Guide into all truth, we therefore have no need for any human to
teach us. The primary passage of Scripture relied upon by this false teaching is found in I John 2.
I John 2:21-27
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know
the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth….. But the anointing which you have received from Him
abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things,
and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
It is always with peril when one takes a single verse or passage of Scripture and attempts to base a doctrinal belief solely
upon that single verse or passage. The whole of Scripture is needed to develop any belief. Utilizing that simple strategy
of correct doctrinal development clearly dismantles this false teaching of “needing no teachers in the church.”
John clearly was attempting to encourage the saints in this passage of Scripture. He did not want them to be deceived
concerning the Antichrist. He was emphasizing to them that they knew the truth; they knew who Jesus really was and this
knowing was from down deep within them by the Holy Spirit and no one else (no “teacher”) was needed to tell them
otherwise. The anointing in the believer is that divinely implanted element that recognizes what is true and what is not –
it is the antidote of deception. This is what John was saying. He was not declaring that teachers were obsolete.
Study the following comments:
1) If teaching and preaching had been done away with, why was Paul continuing to “teach the word of God among them”
as it says in Acts 18:11?
2) Under the unction of the Holy Spirit, Paul declares that Elders must be able to teach (I Timothy 3:2). Why would they
need this ability if Jesus had ordained that no teaching would happen within His Church?
3) Ephesians 4:11 tells us that Jesus has set five ministry offices in place and one of those offices is a “teacher.” Why
would He ordain a teacher if there were no need for teaching?
4)I Timothy 5:17 instructs for elders who labor in the Word and doctrine to receive double honor. Why would he declare
this teaching if the ministry of proclamation had become obsolete?
5) II Timothy 3:16 tells us “All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.”
Why would Jesus incorporate these teaching activities in His Elders’ responsibilities if they were not supposed to teach
6) James 3:1 warns “...”let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Would
not this apostle of Jesus Christ have warned that “no one should become teachers” if teachers were no longer needed?
7) The apostle Peter makes this statement in II Peter 1:12 “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of
these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.” Can you see that he was instructing the saints
here? Through teaching he was reaffirming the truth at hand. Why would he be involved in teaching if it were in direct
disobedience to Jesus, who was his Lord and Savior and Friend?
I trust that you can see clearly from these seven biblical observations that the ministry of proclamation is a calling that
has not vanished or been dismantled by the Lord. He has indeed dispatched the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher and we
are so very blessed because He has. The Spirit lives within us and He is always leading us into all the truth. (John 16:13)
His inner voice either confirms or rejects what we hear or think and thereby establishes us in truth. He is also always at
work in conjunction with Elders who are assigned the task of proclamation, both guiding the speaker to deliver truth, as
well as, enabling the hearers to discern truth and/or reject false doctrine. His role is paramount in the ministry of
I have taken the time to discuss the historic perspective in order to clearly establish that the ministry of proclamation is
not something new but rather the means by which God has chosen to impart Truth to His people and to the earth in
general. Neither is it man-made nor is it obsolete. Proclamation is God’s way. He created it and He sustains it as His
primary delivery system of Truth to the Church.
Questions on Lesson #2
1. How God historically revealed Himself to man?
2. Prior to the birth of Israel how did God communicate with man?
3. Why did not God choose angels rather than man to be His primary mouthpiece on the earth?
4. Explain Amos 3:7.
5. The emphasis of the Christian pulpit is on the ______________ not on the messenger.
6. Spiritual growth and maturation is the result of __________________ and knowledge is imparted how?
7. One of the qualifications for an elder in the Body of Christ is what? (see I Timothy 3:2)