Preaching Deuteronomy As Christian Scripture -- By: Joshua N. Moon
STR 2:1 (Summer 2011) p. 39
Preaching Deuteronomy As Christian Scripture
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church (PCA), Minnesota
“For it is certain that our Moses is the fountain and the father of all the prophets and sacred books, that is, of heavenly wisdom and eloquence.”1
Preaching—at least in its expository form—is an oral exercise of theological exegesis set within a particular (liturgical) context. That is not all to be said of preaching, of course, but among the numerous discussions of theological exegesis it seems strange that few scholars have been willing to imagine the Christian pulpit as an arena where the same questions and concerns have long been at play. The Christian preacher who desires to work his way either through a book of the Bible (a lectio continua approach such as John Chrysostom, Augustine, Calvin, and others), or at the least be faithful to a particular text in preaching, faces all of the main questions the academic writer of theological exegesis will face. How do we as a Christian church read this particular text? What questions arise from it? What is the place of this text in the various horizons in which we must read it: original/textual, canonical, ecclesial, historical, liturgical? Why would God have this particular text preserved to be read and heard by his people? What role in the “divine drama” do we play, and what impact might that have upon our hearing and acting upon this text? But these are not questions the preacher asks in theory. He must, every week, stand and address a concrete expression of Christ’s body on earth and answer (even if not explicitly) these concerns. And more than this, the preacher has a burden most academics do not have in their musings and books: the preacher has to be interesting.
This article is a retrospective in some ways. I spent considerable time looking at Deuteronomy in an academic setting, and then upon my move to the pulpit I soon undertook the task of preaching through Deuteronomy in the evening services. Standing in front of a congregation whose concerns and struggles I knew—from struggles in marriage to personal addictions, and from grief over loss to joy over blessings—provided a new context for reading Deuteronomy. And my general
STR 2:1 (Summer 2011) p. 40
conviction (undefended, I suppose) was that Deuteronomy must be able to address the Christian church as it actually is: not, as Lewis describes, the “Church as [the demonic powers] see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners”;2 nor, what is the luxury of academics, the “church” as a vague or...
Click here to subscribe