Friday, 13 January 2012

Do you preach the Bible biblically?

In his second address on 'New Covenant Ministry' at the Carey conference, Sam Waldron said something that struck me forcibly. 'Do you preach the Bible biblically?' he asked. He confessed that as a younger man he thought it was enough simply to explain the meaning of any given part of the Scripture. In later years he came to see that that is not sufficient. A preacher must preach the Bible with the Bible's main purpose and design in view. A sermon must keep central what the Bible says is central - God's grace in Christ. Preachers must keep their preaching grace centred and Christ centred.

I own up to the same failing. For too much of my early ministry I thought it was enough to teach what the text said. I did not see the passage in the wider context of the whole of Scripture, which Waldron rightly summarises as God's grace in Christ. I hope my sermons were not entirely graceless or Christless, but they were nothing like as full of either as they should have been. They are much less than they should be now, I know, but I hope they are a bit better!

I suspect though that Sam Waldron has put his finger on a malaise of the modern evangelical pulpit which is no doubt teaching much biblical truth, but not the biblical heart of the truth. In short we can say the gospel is not being preached as it should be. Is there any wonder we are ailing?

Do you preach the Bible - biblically?

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