Saturday, 10 September 2011

Preaching Narratives - Christine Baxter

Sidney Greidanus in 1970 reviewed some studies on preaching in the 18th century, from this he argued that there are two main ways of preaching narratives.  Exemplary preaching and Salvation History Preaching.

If we preach on the text by focussing on the people in the text then we would say it's anthropocentric.  By holding up Hunan beings as examples we are exemplary preaching.  The trouble with this is that biblical characters often achieve great things and this leaves people feeling inadequate and incapable of meeting their calling.  

When we speak about people then we speak to the will and not to the heart, bringing about a "got to try harder" Christianity.  This is too prescriptive and leaves no room for the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand we might preach about God in the story, looking at the salvation history.  In this way we focus on the big picture, on what it says about God and how we can learn from this.  

This way of preaching tends to give us hope because we come to know that God is, and does, more than we can think of or ask.  He can always save us.  We can always hope in God.  We are always loved by God.  We learn to trust in God.

Preaching about God (re)launches a relationship with God and brings us truly to worship.  In this we know that God can and will act in the world for us all.

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