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Monday, January 23, 2012

EECC 1.6: Liturgy—Preaching (Preaching and Theology)

If you've kept up with the EECC posts of late, you'll notice that I've more or less skipped to the end of the preaching section, which is the intersection of preaching and theology. I have my reasons for doing so, the primary one being that I'm impatient and want to get more done. So let's move on, shall we?

Given all the things preaching is and what it isn't, one of the most important aspects of preaching in my opinion is its inseparability from theology. Where one proclaims God, one cannot reasonably excise God from the mix without changing the outcome. Without God, is preaching still preaching?

Admittedly, I'm a bit biased. I love theology. I truly enjoy looking at the Greek and translating it for myself, studying what an ancient text might have meant to its ancient audience, immersing myself in the Bible (albeit in a highly academic sense and environment). However, because of my academic training, I often lose sight of how the Bible matters now. That is often where preaching comes in. I had an interesting conversation with a relatively new friend of mine who is a preacher in my hometown, and he mentioned that it is a constant struggle to attempt to bring theology into a sermon without it drowning the people with knowledge.

Example: if I were to preach out of Mark 5.1-20 right now, I would really, reeeeally want to go into all the detail about how it relates to Isaiah's New Exodus, how certain things in the Greek really point this stuff out, and other things. But let's be realistic: no one wants to hear about how the participles switch between masculine and neuter as they relate to the possessed man (I can hear you snoring already).

However, there are some amazing pieces of theology to come from such a text, like exemplifying our Lord as conqueror of Evil and overcoming all forces in his path to us. Nothing could stop him, and he battled demons, storms, and Satan himself to gain us as his spoils. That would make for a good sermon, I think.

The moment that we think that studying God has become obsolete is the moment we think we have figured God out or become apathetic with getting to know him. Does this take learning Greek and Hebrew and buying an ancient language Bible? Of course not. But in getting to know God, and hearing about God from a preacher, one inescapably enters into theology, and God enters in among us.

Let us continue, then, in seeking God out, that we may ever be more intimate with him, his Son, and his Spirit.

Grace and peace,

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