January 17, 2011

The Scandal of Preaching in a Digital Age

The new issue of The Princeton Theological Review is now available online and contains my article, "Faith Comes from Hearing: The Scandal of Preaching in a Digital Age."  The article considers whether contemporary proposals for new homiletic forms is faithful to a biblical understanding of preaching.  Here's an excerpt:

Not only is Christian preaching to be content specific, it is also often counter-intuitive. Our discussion of the factions in Corinth demonstrated just this point. The gospel itself is counter-intuitive because it is powerful despite its lack of adornment with worldly wisdom and eloquence. The division of the Corinthian church into a Paul party and an Apollos party was, for Paul, a great source of discontent. It is most likely the case that Apollos gained a following because of his eloquence and education. He was a leader whose skill in oratory would provide a source of boasting for the Corinthian Christians. This is what bothered Paul so deeply. The Corinthians were following their culture. The assurance that came through the gospel came paired with the fact that it was foolishness when considered in light of the wisdom of the day. Convention required that orations be adorned with special techniques, and the most successful orators were masters of these techniques. Paul did not want his missionary success to depend on his own skill or eloquence but on the power of God at work in the gospel alone. This was clearly counter-intuitive, but Paul insisted on it regardless.
Click here and scroll down to page 43 to read the whole thing.

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