Sunday, June 11, 2006

"We Preach Christ...."

"Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom," Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:22-23, "but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles."

Was Paul using hyperbole here? Did he really "preach Christ crucified" in every sermon?

For many today, what has become known as "Christ-Centered Preaching" runs the risk of blunting the sharp edges of biblical imperatives (for example, after reading the command that Christians should love God and neighbor, the minister says, "Well since we can't do this, it's a good thing Jesus died for us!"). Further, "redemptive-historical preaching" is often considered tantamount to preaching the same sermon every week with a different text ("In John 11:35 we read, 'Jesus wept.' Now you'll remember that Adam was originally created good....").

What are we to make of Christ-centered preaching? Redemptive-historical preaching? How do these differ from the Puritan method of Doctrine, Reason, Use? What role does "application" play in preaching? And perhaps most importantly, How on earth do we make an ancient text relevant for the (post)modern hearer?