Theology Destroys Small Thoughts Of God
From Tullian Tchividjian:
I love these lines from Mike Horton’s excellent little book, Too Good To Be True: Finding Hope in a World of Hype:
Christian theology is specifically charged with the task of making problematic our relationship with God, of presenting God to ourselves and others in such a way as to be confronted with a person who cannot be conformed to the narrow and sinful precincts of our own longings, expectations, and concepts. The God who comes to us in revelation is not a projection, but a person. He wrestles us to the ground, takes away our pride, and leaves us walking away from the match with a limp so that we will never forget the encounter.
Mike’s profound point is that, far from putting God into a box, theology done right actually destroys our little boxes, showing us that God is God and we are not; He is big and we are small. Theology reminds us that there is no God but God and to encounter him is to be forever changed!
What is good preaching?
From Adrian Reynolds.
- Biblical – the Bible, God’s word, sets the agenda, rather than the speaker. Anything else is little better than an interesting talk. “Arsenal goalkeepers 1950-1978″ is atalk, you might be interested or not. A sermon is expounding the Bible. Ultimately God talks. It’s always interesting (even if it’s not engaging) because he is talking.
- Intellectual – I don’t mean high brow or complex; the preacher must not confuse profundity and complexity. But it must be thought through. This means it must be based on studying God’s word to rightly understand its meaning.
- Spiritual – unlike my Arsenal goalkeepers talk a sermon is a sermon because it is spiritual. How else could God be speaking unless something miraculous is going on? This is the theme of our EMA next week. “We ought to be driven forth with abhorrence from the society of honest men for daring to speak in the name of the Lord if the Spirit rests not upon us” (CH Spurgeon). It is the Spirit who ensures that the words of men are also received as the words of God.
- Prophetic – it speaks into situations and is intimately connected with the lives of those to whom it is spoken. This isn’t a comment on prophecy (that’s a whole different issue) – but true preaching is prophetic in that it connects with people and calls for a response. For this reason, I maintain that every person’s favourite preacher must be their pastor – not some internet celebrity. It is only he that engages with you in this truly week-in week-out prophetic manner.
Therefore, the chief tools of the preacher are careful Bible study/preparation and heartfelt prayer. Many, if not most, preachers have deficiencies in one of these areas – if you’re like me, quite possibly both! It’s basic stuff, but good to remind ourselves what our calling requires of us.