We at Searching Together and Ekklesia Press are excited about the release of this re-print of a book that never had a hearing in America, because it was first published by Paternoster Press in England in 1996.
David C. Norrington unfolds many insights concerning early church life as a continuation of Jesus' ministry on earth. For example, he makes this observation about Christ's oversight of the apostles: "There is no evidence for the suggestion that apostles worked in pairs comprised of a senior and junior member. Each appears to have answered directly to his Lord and not another apostles . . . . Jesus' policy of ensuring that all answered directly to him, without being under the authority of any other member of the apostolic band, ensured that the question of internal leadership was never resolved. Jesus was the only leader in the group and he appointed no deputy."
As I re-read "to Preach," I was struck by the fact that the traditional notion of "the centrality of preaching" covers up a very important truth. Tradition connects the presence of Christ in the assembly with a delivered sermon. Norrington takes issue with D. Bonhoeffer who said, "The preacher should be assured that Christ enters the congregation through those words he proclaims from the Scripture" (p. 201). With no mention of a sermon, Christ has already promised His presence when His people gather (Matt. 18:20). The point being, Christ is already "in" all of His flock, and they each can express Christ (1 Cor. 14:26). By focusing on the sermon of one person, the multi-voiced assembly is tragically muted.
I believe that this book is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about what "ekklesia" is really all about.