James Fisher on the lawfulness of reading sermons in public worship

It may be lawful to read sermons in the public worship of God in the absence of a preacher and the gift of preaching.  However, it is not lawful to read sermons in public worship of God if doing so neglects the lively preaching of the Word, which God has ordained. 


Q. 34. Is reading of sermons or discourses from the pulpit an ordinance of God appointed in his word? A. So far from it, that we find the contrary practiced by our Lord while he was here upon earth, Luke 4:16, 23; where, after reading his text out of the prophet Esaias, it is said, he CLOSED the book, and “began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears,” &c. – James Fisher, The Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Explained, p. 43


Q. 28. May not people be more edified in reading good sermons at home, than in hearing from the pulpit, such as are not perhaps, so well digested? A. If they are in health, and not necessarily detained from the public ordinances, they have no ground to expect any real and saving benefit to their souls in the neglect of hearing the word preached: because it pleases “God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe,” 1 Cor. 1:21; and “faith cometh by HEARING ,” Rom. 10:17. – James Fisher, The Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Explained, p. 338


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