Should the teaching of a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ be clear and easy to understand or difficult and inscrutable to fathom? Should understanding his teaching require that one have at the very least a post-graduate degree and copious training in the subject he is discussing? While those might sound like easy questions to answer, history is full of examples of men who have served in both the ministry and the seminary whose teaching was anything but clear and easy to understand. Often the teaching of such men has been so unclear that they have been thought to be saying things they have later denied they taught. In the case of the recent Federal Vision controversy, for instance, the teachers of the Federal Vision are constantly claiming that even men with advanced theological degrees have not understood their teaching.
What is the real value of teaching that is either unclear, confusing, or unintelligible to most listeners, especially when that teaching is supposed to be an exposition of the clear and perspicuous content of scripture? If a man cannot explain what scripture teaches on subjects like salvation and the sacraments in a manner that even a trained theologian can understand, then surely the problem is likely to be that either the matter or manner of his teaching is confused and quite possibly erroneous.
Our teaching and preaching, while it should not be dumbed-down or denuded of content, should be above all clear and logical. It should not be the case that what we say can be easily taken in a wrong way so that our listeners are likely to misunderstand what we are saying. Instead, like the preaching and teaching of the Apostles we should be striving to be clearly understood by all manner of men. So if your primary concern is to make Christ and His commands known to a lost and dying world, your ministry will follow the lead of those preachers and expositors who have a gift for being able to make even complex subjects clear and easy to understand, rather than those who have had a knack for complicating even the simplest and most straightforward of subjects.
Men should be able to say of us what Leon Morris (who was himself a brilliant, but very clear expositor of scripture) wrote about one of his own mentors, T.C. Hammond:
He was very clear and logical thinker. He had a way of getting to the heart of any matter on which he was engaged and seeing exactly what was involved. He could sweep aside all the non-essentials and concentrate on what was relevant. In this book there is recorded his comment when someone said that he did not understand Karl Barth, ‘Whose fault is that?’ That says a lot about TC. He was rigorous in thinking any matter through until his own thought was clear and then in expressing the truth he saw in terms that anyone could understand. He had no patience with obscurity and took it as the duty of anyone who lectured or wrote that he should make himself clear.