f The Wittenberg Door: Jeremiah Wright and the Pulpit

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Jeremiah Wright and the Pulpit

One of the things I love about the Reformed church is the symbolism, especially the symbolism involving the pulpit. The pulpit comprises a lectern standing upon a raised platform. Being the most important piece of “furniture” in the church, it is positioned in front of the congregation, with all pews facing it. Its symbolic importance can be summarized as follows:

  • It’s central—The pulpit’s central placement is important because it is from there that God addresses His people via the preached word. Therefore, it commands the most prominent place in the church.

  • It’s raised—The pulpit is elevated because it is upon the lectern that the minister’s bible rests, symbolizing the word of God being over the people.

  • It’s solid—The lectern is made of solid wood, symbolizing the sure foundation upon which God’s word stands. Moreover, it’s large enough to obscure most of the minister’s body, thus keeping the focus on the word. For this reason, Reformed ministers stay behind the lectern, so as to stay behind the word of God.

Overall, the pulpit represents what the church service is to be primarily about—God’s people coming together to worship Him, and, as mentioned, God addressing His people through the preached word.

Abusing the Pulpit

One aspect of the Jeremiah Wright scandal that has yet to be explored is his deplorable use of the pulpit. Because of what the pulpit represents, and because of what is supposed to be happening there, Mr. Wright’s disgusting words are overshadowed by something far worse—the blaspheming of our holy God by abusing the pulpit. It is this abuse that deserves our greatest outrage.

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