Thursday, June 19, 2008

Theological Anemia

image Continuing some observations of Dr. Robert Smith, the author of Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life, in an interview with Art Azurdia of The Spurgeon Fellowship Journal:

RS: ...“Don’t be theologically anemic!” is what I would say to individuals who are pastoring. “Study theology!” Why is it that since you’ve been out of seminary for ten years you haven’t bought a new book? What are you reading? Where are you getting your messages from? The movie theater? Online? In school, we had to read in order to pass with a decent GPA. But what are you going to do when nobody is giving you a syllabus and demanding that you turn in papers and reading reports? There’s got to be something from within us that cries, “Our God is a God of excellence! O Lord, our Lord: how excellent your name is in all the earth!” I must give Him excellence. There must be an insatiable appetite to literally devour the word of God and other books so that my preaching is characterized by theological depth – not fluff. I must be planning six months ahead and seeking where God is leading me in terms of my preaching.

AA: It sounds like what you’re saying to pastors is, “You need to be more academic” and what you’re saying to academics is “You need to be more pastoral.”

RS: Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying!

I am appreciative of the renewed emphasis on doctrine.  Dr. Smith is also interviewed in the cover article of Preaching magazine.  There he says,

"Doctrine doesn't have to be dull.  Doctrine can dance. I'm using that metaphor of dance--the whole idea of rhythm and excitement and joy and exuberance--and marrying exegesis with exuberance. In fact, I use the metaphor of the exegetical escort and the doxological dancer.  These are the two pillars that hold it up."

For too many years I avoided doctrinal preaching.  I thought of it as polemical and divisive.  But I am beginning to see that there really is a place for GOOD doctrinal preaching.  If doctrine matters (and most evangelicals would say that it does), then people must be taught well.  And the preacher needs to be the main teacher of correct doctrine.  Not in an indoctrinational way, but in a true explanatory way. 

But...let it dance!

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