Monday, March 7, 2011

Preaching as Exultation

The cure for dull preaching is not simply better information or more creative themes/props, but a sense of exultation in and over the biblical text. What we need are preachers and teachers as animated and moved by what the Bible says as they are by their own points -- moreso, even.

John Piper:
This means that the preacher does not just explain what’s in the Bible, and the people do not simply try understand what he explains. Rather, the preacher and the people exult over what is in the Bible as it is being explained and applied.

Preaching does not come after worship in the order of the service. Preaching is worship. The preacher worships—exults—over the word, trying his best to draw you into a worshipful response by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My job is not simply to see truth and show it to you. (The devil could do that for his own devious reasons.) My job is to see the glory of the truth and to savor it and exult over it as I explain it to you and apply it for you. That’s one of the differences between a sermon and a lecture.
From Ray Ortlund's When God Comes to Church:
It is so hard not to be dull. C.S. Lewis wrote that "when the old poets made some virtue their theme, they were not teaching but adoring, and . . . what we take for the didactic is often the enchanted." As I write, I am not merely teaching. I am adoring. Please do not take the enchanted as merely the didactic.


cjbooth85 said...

This is also the difference between boring cooking shows and interesting cooking shows: the tasting. The chef on a good cooking show is delighting in the aroma and savor of what he or she is creating and wants badly to share it with their audience.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good..."

And I think it was Jonathan Edwards who said, "that which is full has a propensity to overflow."

If the preacher's heart is brimming full of the beauty of grace and the excellencies of God, it erupts and the message becomes infectious.

And I would add that this is so very different from a mere man-made enthusiasm (been there, done that) based on trying to be cool or to be a dynamic communicator. I think what Piper and Ortlund (and you Jared) are after is getting down to the nitty-gritty: a preacher's heart enraptured by the Gospel. For real. No pretense or faking.

Can you talk sometime about how a heart arrives in this place? Especially when one is not 'feeling it?' Especially during message prep during a hectic week and Sunday is coming?

Jared said...

Chris, that's a great question. I'm gonna try to answer it in a post tomorrow.