Extracts from notes by Danny Akin from Rick Warren’s conference presentation.
There are some real nuggets here.
6 things I know about every audience
1. Everybody wants to be loved.
2. Everybody wants their life to count (meaning, purpose, significance.)
3. No matter how wealthy or successful life is empty without Christ.
4. Many of these people are carrying a load of guilt.
5. Many are consumed with bitterness (from past offenses.)
6. There is a universal fear of death.…
‘A fourth generation preacher, Simon Ponsonby came to personal faith in his late teens. He worked as a butcher, then became an evangelist and church planter, before preparing for ordination at Trinity College, Bristol, where he gained his BA & MLitt in Theology. After serving a curacy in Bradford, he became Oxford Pastorate Chaplain in 1998. Simon took up the position of Pastor of Theology at St Aldates in 2005, a role that combines teaching, travelling and writing.’…
Edmund Clowney, Sidney Greidanus, Graeme Goldsworthy, Bryan Chappell, Christopher Wright, David Murray, Christopher Ash and others have done the church a great service by their advocacy, in various ways, of a Christ-centred approach to preaching from the Old Testament.
What’s not to like?
Amid all the enthusiasm, Daniel Block sounds a note or two of caution.
Block agrees that Christ-centred preaching
‘has a long history, beginning with the apostles, the church fathers, the reformers (especially Luther), and extending to more a recent revival [of] Christ-centered preaching in some circles.
In The Hermeneutical Spiral, Grant Osborne discusses the issue of ‘distanciation’ (the cultural gap that exists between biblical times and today. Preachers have devised a number of erroneous approaches, including:
Literalistic preaching assumes God automatically bridges the gap and preaches the text as if it were written for today. Normally this is accompanied by a lack of serious effort to understand the text, resulting in shallow, subjective sermons.
Allegorizing…assumes that beneath the literal, surface meaning lies the “real” meaning, such as the Song of Songs as a picture of Christ and the church.
What can the preacher learn from the stand-up comic and other expert communicators?
Not a lot, it might be supposed. The preacher shouldn’t go all-out for laughs: his message is far too serious. He shouldn’t preach time again the same message, honing it until every word is in the right place, and the delivery timed to perfection. He shouldn’t try to create any kind of unnatural persona, but rather be in the pulpit the same person that he is at home, at work, and amongst his friends.…
“The purpose of preaching is not to explain a subject, but to achieve an object.” (Fosdick)
‘We have forgotten that the Bible is an imaginative book. It contains every kind of literature, from funeral dirges and pastoral poems to epigrams, parables, allegories, and creative symbols that have captured poets, artists, and composers for centuries. For some reason, our views of inspiration and inerrancy have robbed us of a living book, a book that throbs with excitement and enrichment.…