Friday, November 23, 2007

Preaching as Re-Revelation

Steve Mathewson over at the PreachingToday blog was really helpful to me today. Let me quote from his post and then comment. He writes:

"I recently ran across a helpful way of describing preaching. It’s in an essay by D. A. Carson in Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching in Honor of R. Kent Hughes (Crossway, 2007). In his essay, “Challenges for the Twenty-first-century Pulpit,” Carson encourages preachers to think of preaching in terms of 're-revelation.'”

"Carson explains: “Perennially we read [in the Scriptures], ‘The word of the Lord came to such-and-such a prophet.’ So when that Word is re-announced, there is a sense in which God, who revealed himself by that Word in the past, is re-revealing himself by that same Word once again.” Carson argues that preachers must bear this in mind, making their aim more than explaining the Bible. He writes: “They [preachers] want the proclamation of God’s Word to be a revelatory event, a moment when God discloses himself afresh, a time when the people of God know that they have met with the living God.”

"This raises the stakes, doesn’t it?! If my role as a preacher is to be a spokesperson through whom God reveals himself in a fresh way to His people, then this calls for a certain level of urgency and intensity as I study the text, pray over and through the text, and wrestle with what the Spirit is saying to me and to the people with whose care I have been entrusted."

"Pastors, our task as we preach this weekend and beyond is to re-reveal the living God. What a calling! What a privilege! What a responsibility! What a message! What a Savior and God!"

(Find this at:

cph: I think that this is helpful to me in terms of the information/inspiration tension upon which I have written on here before. As someone with a strong gift of teaching, I want people to UNDERSTAND the Bible. And when I have done maps and charts usually it is so that people can understand. And some of that is good. But does it further the message of the text? Or does it make us take a step back from the text? For example: this Sunday I am preaching on Esther. The "perhaps you were raised up for such a time as this" idea.

And I had planned on showing a map of Iran to show where Susa is located. But with a verbal reference, "Susa is located in present-day Iraq", I have located the scene in a real location without drawing attention away from the point of the story. I have always said that it was important to me for people to understand that the Bible events took place in real places...not "far, far away." But the point is NOT that Esther was in captivity in Susa. The point was that GOD was there and He raised Esther up to save his people. I have to apply that idea to my own life and then declare THAT TRUTH to people.

The term "re-revelation" makes me a bit squeamish, however. I understand what Carson means, that we are revealing to the people what God has already revealed to us in His Word. But I just don't care for the word. It seems to Joseph-Smith-ish if you know what I mean. The canon is closed and has been for centuries. But I can live with Carson's concept easily.

Am I catching his point? Is there something here that I am missing? Speak up if you have a thought.

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