Here Carl Trueman speaks about Luther’s doctrine of the Word and our need, today, to recover a theology of preaching.
The Word of God transforms the reality of the world. That is the power of preaching, that is the power of the pulpit…
I’m convinced that while much time is spent at seminaries, rightly, teaching the technical aspects of preaching… it is equally important that preachers understand the nature of the theological action which they perform when they stand in a pulpit.
It’s a vital, vital need. I think evangelicalism would be transformed if we came to a deep appreciation of what preaching actually is.
Here’s my effort on Theology Network to bang that drum….
It is often said that the real issue in preaching is not ‘How to?’ but ‘How can?’ How can a preacher stand before a congregation and dare to speak ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’? The ‘How can?’ is by far the more pressing question. And yet, in the textbooks, at the conferences and in preaching groups it seems the ‘How to?’ is the perennial concern. Notes or full script? Powerpoint or no? Topical sermons or lectio continua? These questions abound. Even issues like ‘how to address the heart?’ or ‘how to preach wisdom literature?’ threaten to drown out proper theological reflection. All the while the ‘How can?’ question stands above our practice demanding an answer.
Our silence on this issue could simply reflect the pragmatic spirit of our age. We want to know what ‘works’ so we can copy it. But I suggest there is a deeper problem. Fundamentally we have an impoverished theology of revelation which fails to appreciate what evangelicals from another age held dear – namely that God Himself addresses us in preaching.