Jul 29, 2012

Teaching vs. Preaching

Read the following carefully. I think Anderson makes some points worth considering.

“Take the question of preaching and teaching. Many have tried to distinguish between preaching and teaching as if teachers share information, while preachers change lives, but that distinction might not actually be helpful. When someone says, ‘George is a better teacher than he is a preacher,’ we think we understand. When pressed to articulate the difference, however, things become more complicated. It may be George is a little dry in his presentation or perhaps he is lacking in passion. That might leave him deficient in the preaching category, but does it automatically mean the man can teach?
One of the reasons preachers are unappreciated in contemporary culture is that they keep trying to change people’s lives. Teachers are better accepted because they are thought to be benign. The teacher shares information but isn’t concerned about persuading anyone, or so it is thought. Put it like that to a real teacher, however, and see how he or she responds.   
“Any teacher worth her whiteboard wants to change lives. Great teaching is not solely about information transfer, as if the lecture were a biotechnical cognitive download. There is that, of course, but teachers want so much more for their students. Teachers want to be dangerous. They actually want to change lives—just like preachers.

“Preachers and teachers have more in common than what is often thought. The teacher wants to change lives, and the cognitive preacher understands that lives will change once people have a correct understanding of truth.”

Kenton C. Anderson, Choosing to Preach (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 94–5.

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