Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exerpt-The Future of Expository Preaching Part II

I have decided to take some time this week to look at a message that has really blessed my heart. Dr. Bryan Chapel, president of Covenant Theological Seminary in Kentucky, gave a presentation in March of 2004 on what he saw as the future of expository preaching. I have been particularly encouraged by what he sees as the future of expository preaching. I pray that you will be encouraged as well.

The Voice of Jesus

Augustine wrote long ago that when the Bible speaks, God speaks. Thus, when we explain what the Bible says, we communicate God’s Word to his people. This is more than just a figure of speech. The Spirit that inspires Scripture only speaks what is given to him by the Son (Jn 16:13-15). Thus, when we are communicating what God says in his Word, we are communicating what the Son says through the Spirit. Expository preaching that says what God says is, thus, doing more than explaining what a passage of an ancient document means. Such preaching is yet presenting the voice of the Shepherd to his sheep. Luther said the church is God’s “mouth house.” The Second Helvetic Confession captures more, saying, “The preaching of the Word of God, is the Word of God.” And John Calvin most boldly proclaims the implications, saying that God has so chosen to anoint the lips and tongue of the faithful proclaimers of his Word that, when they speak, “the voice of Jesus” comes out. Preaching that is true to the Christ- centered purposes of the Spirit yet makes the voice of the Savior present among his people. The design of the Scripture is to perpetuate the voice of the Savior through the proclaimers of his Word. We are ambassadors for Christ, as though he were making his appeal through us (2 Cor 5:20). Such an understanding of the Christ-embodied nature of preaching does not deny the power of technological means of communication, but it cautions against trusting in any mechanism or media that distracts listeners from the ethos of the minister. When the truth of Christ is made incarnate by our teaching and our testimony, then the truth that is inscripturated in his Word becomes most audible to his people and most real to their hearts. However, when either teaching or testimony is void of a Christ- focus, then the voice of the Savior becomes distant. Expository preaching that unfolds the redemptive message of every passage maintains the voice of the Savior for the sake of both preacher and parishioner.

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