Sunday, July 20, 2008

Teach the Bible or Preach Christ?

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Charles Saville points to a blog post by a blogger with whom I  was unfamiliar:  Michael Jensen from the UK.   Charles disagrees with the person Jensen quotes and thinks that he has set up a straw-man. 

What do you think?

I was speaking with a prominent English conservative evangelical not so long ago, and we were talking about preaching. He had a gripe: the phrase 'bible teaching' (and the idea of 'bible churches', too). It has crept into the evangelical vocabulary to describe what used to be called 'preaching'. A church is great, we will say, because 'the bible teaching is excellent'. But, he said, the vocab change is significant: it represents a shift to a more cognitive, flat and explanatory style of discourse. The hearers will not be exhorted or edified so much as 'taught'. What's more, and perhaps more seriously, we talk less of preaching Christ, but of teaching the Bible. A subtle but significant difference perhaps?

Is this vocabulary to be encouraged, or is the English preacher right?

(Find the original here.)

I waver back and forth on this: on the one hand, to preach Christ and to teach the Bible can and should co-exist together. 

But I think that there is a point to be made in this brother's words.  It is easy to fill notebooks with Bible notes and for our church folks to KNOW a lot about the Bible, but never be moved to repentance.  Never be moved to submission to Christ.  Never be moved to action. 

What do you think? 

3 comments:

franklin said...

Isn't the point of all preaching to reveal the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? I don't get charged up about hearing "Bible Teaching" but wow, to go hear someone preach CHRIST from the Scriptures...that is GOSPEL to my heart.

Just a thought.

Great blog BTW.

Cal Habig said...

A big amen to that. Thanks for the comment response!

michael jensen said...

Yes - I think Charles didn't quite get my point. I was suggesting that by prefering 'Bible Teaching' over 'preaching Christ' we are locking ourselves into a model of sermon-giving which is more didactic than exhortatory.

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