It is the Prophets who are to Teach

Pentecost 13 Tuesday

Jeremiah 23:21

“I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.”

Some claim that St. Paul gave everyone permission to preach in the congregation, even to bark against the regular incumbent of the preaching office, when he says in 1 Corinthians 14:30: “When a revelation is given to another sitting there, let the first be silent.” This is why the sneakers think that they have the authority and the right to judge the preachers and to preach differently whenever they come to a congregation. But this interpretation misses the mark by far. The sneakers do not consider the text rightly and take out of it, and put into it, whatever they want. Paul speaks here of the prophets who are to teach. He does not speak of the people who are the hearers. Yet the prophets are the teachers who occupy the preaching office in the church. Why else would a person be called a prophet? Therefore, let the sneaker prove first that he is a prophet or teacher in the church he comes to; then let him be heard according to St. Paul’s teaching. If he cannot prove it, let him run to the devil who sent him and told him to steal someone else’s preaching office in a church where he does not belong as a hearer or student, let alone as a prophet and teacher. What a precedent would it set if everybody had the authority to interrupt a pastor’s sermon and argue with him? Should a third person interrupt the two, commanding both to be silent? There might also be a drunk coming in from the tavern, interrupt all three and tell the third one to be silent. Finally, the women would also demand such a right as those sitting there, telling
the men to be silent, then one woman would interrupt the other. O what a great party that would turn out to be! What pigsty would not be more orderly than such a church? There the devil nicely replaces me with his preachers. Yet the blind sneakers do not consider this; they think they alone are the ones sitting there and do not see that all the others would have to have the same right and could also tell them to be silent. They do not know what they are saying. They do not
know what sitting or speaking means; what is a prophet and a layman in this chapter of St. Paul. If you read the entire
chapter, you will find that St. Paul there talks about prophesying, teaching, and preaching in the congregation or church. He does not there tell the congregation to preach, but talks about preachers who preach in the congregation or assembly. Otherwise, he should not forbid the women to preach who also belong to the Christian congregation.

St. Louis ed., 20:1670-1671.

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