This is directed mostly to the guys who are in my Christ-Centered Preaching right now, since it relates to an article we have to read and process. But anyone is welcome to contribute to any discussion, so feel free no matter who you are.
Ok – here’s the deal. I just finished reading the article by Adams called “Preaching Christ.” I am not evaluating, assessing or criticizing his article, but I had a couple of questions come up that I wanted to get some interaction on.
I’ll quote a couple of thoughts that struck out to me, and then at the bottom, I’ll ask the questions I’m wrestling with. Maybe the answer was apparent to you when reading; if so, I’d love to know how you guys took it. Perhaps it wasn’t clear, but you have some thoughts in response to my question; great too. I’m hoping through this we can interact on the differences between Moralistic Preaching and Christ/Gospel-Centered Preaching. Here are the quotes:
…edificational preaching must always be evangelical; that is what makes it moral rather than moralistic, and what causes it to be unacceptable in a synagogue, in a mosque, or to a Unitarian congregation. By evangelical, I mean that the import of Christ’s death and resurrection – His substitutionary, penal death and bodily resurrection – on the subject under consideration is made clear in the sermon. You must not exhort your congregation to do whatever the Bible requires of them as though they could fulfill those requirements on their own, but only as a consequence of the saving power of the cross and the indwelling, sanctifying power and presence of Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit. (p. 147)
A good self-image comes not merely from acknowledging what we are in Christ, as the psychologizers suppose, but also from closing the gap between what we are in Christ and what we should become in our daily living. That is to say, it comes not only from justification, but also as a by-product of progress in sanctification. (p. 151)
These are the quotes that made me pause and want to ask a couple of questions. Here they are:
- How is preaching to enable a “closing the gap between what we are in Christ and what we should become in our daily living,” not a modified moralism (or Sola Bootstrapsa as Chapel would say)?
- What does it mean to preach Christ’s “sanctifying work,” in a non-moralistic way? What is the active response of the listener to this? The pastor?
- What is it we are really calling people to when we preach in this Christ/Gospel-centered way?
I guess what I’m struggling with is what does this look like practically. I’d love to get some interaction on this with you guys, so fire your comments away.