My Theology of Preaching, Pt. II: Progressive Revelation

I remember one of the previous comments on my previous post in this section advised me to start with Scripture rather than culture as a doctrinal foundation.  I believe I’ve come far enough whereas I can refute that basic presupposition that we must start with scripture and end with scripture.

This sola scriptura has its place, don’t misunderstand me, but my own personal reservations is that it places the God that we say we love into a box confined only by scripture; as if God is still not speaking and talking in our present time today.  With the last books written around the early second century, and redacted in biblical editions over the ages, who is to say that what we have today is any more accurate than what people had prior to the ever popular King James edition.

[Editor’s commentary: Let it not go unnoticed that somehow, the King James edition of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament was published in 1611, and that the first British slave ship landed in what was to be the British colonies in 1619 under the guise of what was to later be called Manifest Destiny.]

This “progressive revelation” of God is not the complete dismissal nor disavowal of the biblical text, but I refuse to put so much stock into it as if to say that “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”  The early preachers of our church as we know it, Paul and Peter were not necessarily preaching as we know it today, but rather they were using their culture as the platform for speaking the truth as it was revealed to them.  Paul most certainly was critiquing and preaching from culture in his Areopagitica (Acts 17) and did not have “scripture” necessarily as a basis for his sermons.  However, do not be fooled, Paul was quite the scholar and was quite aware of the scripture, which for him would have been the Septuagint (LXX).

Well, the natural question is, where would this leave me as far as preaching in the Church as we know it today?

I’m glad you asked.

It would simply mean that my purpose for preaching is for the glorification of the Deity (which is God as we know it) and the edification of the people.  I do not believe that the two are mutually exclusive; one cannot and will not happen without the other.  People will not be edified, I’m convinced, if I got up in someone’s pulpit and did not have a scriptural text from which to preach.  Although, ironically enough, I’ve been in many church services and heard many preachers do that, and act as if they’ve preached.  Scarily enough, the people acted as if they had been edified.

I had one friend put it this way: there are people who were educated at My Spirit Is Happy When Things Are Out Of Order Ministries and they were taught Foolishness 101, and I added and 201 and 301 and 401.  They ended up with a minor in Foolishness, but weren’t worried about their major; the reason why they went to church in the first place.

Keep it uppity, JLL

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