Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Does Preaching Have a Future?

That's the question David Jackman of Proclamation Trust asks and answers in this excellent article. (HT: UA)

Colin has abstracted Jackman's pleas:

1. Get rid of the idea that we have to make the text relevant.
2. Go back and work hard on the text, to find out what it meant to its first hearers or readers.
3. Make sure the original context determines your contemporary application.
4. Set the passage also in its wider Biblical theological context.
5. Focus your understanding and purpose in key sentences.
6. Develop a clear programme.
7. Study your congregation.
8. Apply the truth to the whole person.
9. Make your language count.
10. Pray for the Holy Spirit to blow his life-giving breath through it all and to do the gracious and powerful work of which only he is capable.

3 comments:

Keith Walters said...

Thanks for the summary. I do think that relevance gets a bad rap. I agree that we do not have to make the text relevant; it already is. But the point is that the text is relevant and I would argue that most congregations do not perceive why it is relevant. In those cases I would argue that it is the task of the preacher to explain the text’s meaning and its relevance to the congregation.

Tom said...

Amazing! I was taught what Jackman espouses at Westminster in the 1970s.

Concerned Church Member said...

Thabiti,

Hello, brother! A question for you-- I am currently in a dialogue with an elder in my church who does not believe that traditional, "monologue-style" preaching is the "preaching" that is modeled and recommended in the New Testament. He believes that a conversation in which the Gospel is shared is a form of preaching. He also believes that preaching could simply be reading a book of the Bible, even possibly on Sunday mornings, without any additional explanation or application. He is, at least in principle, open to the idea of "dialogical" preaching, in which more than one person is allowed to speak. He also thinks that preachers, in general, should be aiming for shorter messages, as in 15-25 minutes.

Our church is a "9 Marks-friendly" church, and as such, officially holds to expositional preaching as the first of those nine marks. This man says that he firmly believes in expositional preaching, as a way of "heralding the Biblical Gospel" (which is how he defines "preaching," rather than as a monologue-style sermon), but that he simply has different beliefs from other elders in the church, as to its "context, look, and length."

Do you have any recommendations as to how I could answer his points about expositional preaching? I am unsure of how to proceed in this conversation, because I have never faced a situation in which one leader has held such divergent views from the others on a subject that I believe is so vital to the healthiness of a church. I have encouraged him to share his views with the other leaders at our church, but he is reticent, not wanting to "offend" them. At the same time, he is speaking to me, and to others in the congregation, about some of his views, and I feel uneasy and don't know what to do. I respect this man, as an elder in the church, and I want to submit to his leadership, but I am not sure what that should look like in this situation. Could you help a brother out here, if possible? :-) Your counsel would be very much appreciated!