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.
15:21-28 Jesus went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that area came and cried out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is horribly demon-possessed!” But he did not answer her a word. Then his disciples came and begged him, “Send her away, because she keeps on crying out after us.” So he answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and bowed down before him and said, “Lord, help me!” …
He mentions with favor the following, to many of whom he sends greetings: Phoebe, Prisca, “Mary,” Tryphena and Tryphosa, Persis, Julia, the sister of Nereus, Apphia, Lois and Eunice (see Romans 16; Phil. 4; 2 Tim. 1; Philemon).
He employs women in the service of the gospel (Rom. 16:1–3; Phil. 4:3); specifically, the older widows (1 Tim. 5:9, 10), deacons’ assistants (1 Tim. 3:11), women who are able to support others (1 Tim.
The University of Pennsylvania, also known as Penn, has decided to remove a statue of the 18th century evangelical preacher George Whitefield from its campus.
The university issued a statement saying, ‘The case for removing Whitefield is overwhelmingly strong. He was a well-known evangelical preacher in the mid-eighteenth century, who notably led a successful campaign to allow slavery in Georgia. This is undeniably one of Whitefield’s principal legacies.
‘Honouring him with a statue on our campus is inconsistent with our University’s core values, which guide us in becoming an ever more welcoming community that celebrates inclusion and diversity.’…
“We look for the resurrection of the dead”, says the Nicene Creed.
“I believe in the resurrection of the body”, we declare every time we recite the “Apostles’ Creed”.
These ancient affirmations are well-grounded in Scripture, most obviously in 1 Corinthians 15, but also in Romans 8 and other passages. They are also consistent with the teaching of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21 and 22 that confirms that the future hope of God’s people is not for their bodies to remain buried for ever in the ground of this earth and for their “souls” to fly off to “heaven”, but for bodily resurrection and for future life in God’s new heaven and new earth.…
Atheists like to claim that their views, unlike those of believers, are falsifiable.
So, given this openness to a change of mind, what might convince an atheist that God exists after all?
One blogger lists the following as her number one kind of evidence:
‘If I saw an unambiguous message from God, I would be persuaded of his existence. If I saw writing suddenly appear in the sky, in letters a hundred feet high, saying “I Am God, I Exist, Here Is What I Want You To Do” — and if that writing were seen by every human being, written in whatever language they understand, comprehended in the same way by everyone who saw it — I would be persuaded that God existed.’…