The Pastor’s Use of the Old Testament Part 2: Credibility and Enthusiasm in Preaching the Old Testament -- By: R. K. Harrison
BSac 146:582 (Apr 89) p. 123
The Pastor’s Use of the Old Testament
Credibility and Enthusiasm in Preaching the Old Testament
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of four articles delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, November 1–4, 1988.]
Most people would agree that for anyone involved in public communication, credibility is a fundamentally important attribute. To be believed when one is making some statement, however, is by no means an immediate and consistent phenomenon, since the very nature of the communication may arouse questions or doubts, or even provoke a downright denial or rejection of the material involved. Even if what is being proclaimed seems sensible and sufficiently realistic, the messenger may lack complete credibility for one reason or other, and thus may be required to display his or her credentials for scrutiny before the communication can be considered seriously. This demand can and must be expected in society, whether on a formal or informal basis, and is well illustrated in the ministry of Christ (Matt 21:23–27; Mark 11:27–33; Luke 20:1–8).
In Jesus’ ministry people challenged not so much the content of what He communicated as the source of authority underlying its proclamation. But in any event, the reflection was on Jesus for presuming to teach something that at best would have been regarded as heterodoxy, and thus a threat to the official tenets held by the interrogators. The implication is that if His authority could be discredited publicly, the nature and content of His message would be impaired seriously. This is a situation in which a pastor can become embroiled, often quite unwittingly, and if he has the misfortune to become discredited, the basic message, or at least its method of presentation, can be expected to suffer accordingly.
BSac 146:582 (Apr 89) p. 124
If this writer were asked to declare the authority by which he was delivering these lectures, he would not be able to deflect the question by discussing the origin of John the Baptist’s theory and practice of baptism, desirable though that might be in the appropriate circumstances. Instead, this writer would be compelled to say that his authority was of a derived nature, issuing from an invitation by the persons responsible for the planning of the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures at this respected seminary. If pressed still further, he could point to his university and theological ...
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