The SBJT Forum: Profiles of Expository Preaching -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 3:2 (Summer 1999) p. 86
The SBJT Forum:
Profiles of Expository Preaching
Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the Forum’s format. Scott Hafemann, Timothy George, Carl F. H. Henry, C. Ben Mitchell, and D. A. Carson have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. The journal’s goal for the Forum is to provide significant thinkers’ views on topics of interest without requiring lengthy articles from these heavily-committed individuals. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the Forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.
Scott Hafemann is Hawthorne Professor of Greek at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of Suffering and the Spirit, Paul, Moses, and the History of Israel, as well as several scholarly articles. He is currently at work on 2 Corinthians for The NIV Application Commentary.
SBJT: Is it genuinely important to use the biblical languages in preaching, especially since there are many excellent commentaries and pastors will never attain the expertise of scholars?
Scott Hafemann: In answering this question I am tempted to respond by outlining the cultural, theological, political, and educational reasons that have brought us to the place we are today. We find that first hand study of the Bible among evangelicals is relegated to a priestly class of experts, while the rest of the pastors are content to be second class citizens in the kingdom of preaching. Moreover, many pastors are liberals in their theology of religious experience (i.e., religious experience is the fountain of their faith, both in terms of its revelatory content and its personal relevancy). The reasons for this denial of our Reformation heritage are many and complex. Therefore, I am tempted to speak about our participation in the subjectivity of modernity, with its stepchild, postmodernity; our acceptance of the subjectivism of neo-orthodoxy when it comes to the authority of the Bible (even though we claim to reject neoorthodoxy at a formal level); the loss of curricular nerve in our seminaries because of their desire to survive; the legitimization of our resorting to religious experience by repeating the mantra that what really matters is not the function of an adverbial participle or construct state, but having a “personal relationship with Christ” (in which my life becomes the whole world, since, after all, salvation is not a matter of redemptive history, but of knowing Jesus, whoever he might be); and the ultimate collapse of God’s self-revelation in time and space (i.e., a different time and space and language than ours!) into an evangelical mysticism of heart, baptized by the Spirit (the Spirit will lead us into all truth, not my grammar book!).
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