Friday, June 30, 2006

EMA: David Jackman - Preach the Word

David Jackman gave the inaugural lecture on preaching, an exhortation against theological lecturing from the pulpit, merely explaining the Bible... when God would have us PREACH THE WORD... This was Jackman doing John Piper's The Supremacy of God in Preaching (see for example: Expository Exultation @ BeginningWithMoses.org)

A challenge to follow Jesus' example. In Luke 4v16-32 we see Jesus preaching Jesus from the Old Testament... and we see some hardened... and some softened. Some filled with wrath, some with awe for Jesus. Jesus interprets scripture and he interprets the people... and he brings God's word to them.

Cotton Mather, puritan preacher...
"the great design and intention of the office of Christian preacher is to restore the throne and dominion of God in the souls of men"
...which he supports from Romans 10v15-15: how beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news? What good news? Romans quotes Isaiah 52v7:
"YOUR GOD REIGNS"
...the point of studying the Bible? The point of preaching the Bible? Answer: The re-enthronement of Jesus in the hearts of God's people.

We were exhorted to consider the culture, where nothing is new and people still have contempt for Biblical ministry... people downgrade preachinga nd their expectations of it... the calling to preach is downgraded... and the preacher is downgraded.

But we must preach the word. And that doesn't mean cool observation about God's word but requires passionate hearers of God's word... letting the Bible speak not speaking about the Bible. The Church is not a Christian University, it is a field hospital... not a training seminar. Are our people being fed? And with this serious task in view we were challenge as to whether our diary reflects the high priorities of preaching and prayer for Christian leaders?

I will also write up notes from John Piper's two talks, firstly on risk is right and second on sustaining grace. Both were outstanding expository exultation... preaching the word... enthroning Christ in our hearts again.

3 comments:

  1. "...that doesn't mean cool observation about God's word but requires passionate hearers of God's word... letting the Bible speak not speaking about the Bible"

    Thanks for this Dave. I was struck by this recently not in studying what preaching is, but in preparing to teach and teaching on the Fall and on Jesus' return in our 3-day International Bible School. I think our expectation was, well, a 'school' type thing. But in teaching the Bible I can't stop at 'explanation' - the Bible demands that its hearers be exhorted. This particularly struck me in the session on Jesus' return, because of course when it, judgement, eternal punishment and eternal life are talked about in Scripture, it's NEVER just so that we know the facts but so that we be ready, or comforted. The subject demands to be proclaimed, pleaded, etc, not just set forth.
    Preaching the word faithfully doesn't just lay the wood of object truth in order for inspection, it calls down fire from heaven for adoration.

    Apparently the Muslim guy who came was rather surprised/struck by this, that I didn't just stick with informing them (and getting them to inform themselves) from the Bible, but moved into (he searched for words, ...) 'preaching'. But I did point out at the time that the Bible doesn't let us stop there: that isn't God's aim. We'd seen that fairly clearly from the parables of Matt 24 & 25.

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  2. "an exhortation against theological lecturing from the pulpit, merely explaining the Bible..."

    That sounds extremely odd to me, given that 'theology', etymologically speaking, simply means 'speaking about God'. Perhaps Jackson implies a rather loaded meaning to the word?

    And "merely explaining" the Bible? All preaching is interpretatively mediated and thus necessarily implies an assumed theology... There is no 'neat' or simple reading that avoids this (hence your nice 'beginning with Moses' catchline - Jesus himself deploys theology to reread Scripture and thus make sense of Easter).

    I'd reverse Jackman's assertion - let's have more talk about God from the pulpit and less Biblical pastiche masquerading as the living Word of God ;-)

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  3. Hi Mark,

    I guess the emphasis was against 'lecturing' which is a word somewhat loaded (wrongly perhaps) negatively... in favour of preaching, heralding, expositing...

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