Concise Lexicon of Christianity

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Teachings, worship, rites, sermons, and terminology

Your Fantasy Guest Preacher

If you could invite any person, living or dead, to be the guest preacher in your church’s pulpit for one special Sunday, who would it be? I asked a number of people, and here are their candidates in order of popularity:

This is a good, but dangerous choice. Will He be pleased with our obedience? Will He come with comfort or rebuke us?
This is a good choice. Paul couched his rebukes in gentler language than Jesus did.
John Wesley
This is also an excellent choice; however, Whitfield was a better preacher.
Billy Graham
Everyone knows about him, so I’ll offer only one comment, which is that unlike his successors, he was not entangled in politics.
This is a fascinating choice. I’d love to hear a debriefing from Judas, too.
I presume that Augustine of Hippo is meant. This is an excellent choice. This is an early Church father who is the foundation of both Roman Catholic and Protestant theology. He is the source of Calvin’s views on predestination, for example. It would be interesting to hear him speak about his conversion to Christianity, his rejection of astrology, and his thoughts on the nature of the Church, redemption, and the future life.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Another good choice. It would be interesting to hear his views on what has occurred since 1968. We might be rebuked, but we would also learn a lot of constructive things we can do.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
This is one service I would be sure to attend. She could give us an inside track on Jesus’ upbringing and ministry, as well as on the life of the very early church, in which she was a celebrity.
Moses was a very well educated man, so I don’t think he would be very disoriented in our society. Amazed, yes; disoriented, no. It would be interesting to hear him tell about the Exodus and the time in the wilderness. He could give pastors some good tips on leading people.
St. John Chrysostom
St. John Chrysostom was a superb preacher (Chrysostom means golden mouth in Greek, in modern English we would say he had a silver tongue.) He wrote some of the liturgies still being used in the Orthodox churches. As an elderly man, he was banished by a powerful woman, but that did not silence him. He carried on his rhetoric in correspondence, which only made his influence greater and caused it to be recorded for posterity.
Brennan Manning
Brennan Manning was a laicized Franciscan priest who lived from 1934—2013. He was a public speaker and a prolific author.
C. S. Lewis
We all know who C. S. Lewis was. Hearing him speak would be a real treat.
Dietrich Bonhöffer
I speak German, so I always cringe when people pronounce this guy’s last name to rhyme with the German word for railroad station. Bonhöffer was a Christian who was martyred by the Nazis after being involved in a plot to kill Hitler. He left us copious writings. He could definitely tell us about Christian devotion, Christian ethical dilemmas, and faithfulness to death.
God the Father
We all know who He is, so no surprise. However, I imagine that God the Father would send His Word, and we’d end up with Jesus.
Hildegard von Bingen
Hildegard von Bingen was a very influential medieval mystic. She had a number of religious visions, which were certified as authentic and orthodox by the Roman Catholic Church. She wrote voluminous religious writings calling people to repentance. She also wrote scientific works and even invented her own language. She also wrote a lot of music, which she recorded in notation so we can play it today. Her sermon would probably be a call to repentance and obedience to God’s Word.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach was born in Eisenach, the birthplace of Luther. He was an ardent Lutheran and composed a lot of sacred music for worship services. He is one of the greatest composers of sacred music of all times. It would be a real treat to learn about the spirituality that underlies that musical genius.