I’ve had some ongoing interest in and questions about the practice of preaching. David Fitch has some interesting thoughts on how expository preaching doesn’t actually help us faithfully proclaim the gospel, because he says it "commodifies" the word of God, leaving the autonomous listener "in control" as he or she cognitively digests the content of the three points, and then goes home to put the "application" into practice.
And lest anyone think he is against preaching altogether, he lays out four ways we can let go of expository preaching and replace it with preaching that "funds imagination" (a Brueggeman term). The four ways are these. I like them (you’ll have to read the whole post to get his full meaning, but I list them here to provoke interest and questions):
- Quit explaining and start proclaiming!
- Please! Let’s come to Scripture as a drama and not a textbook.
- Forget the application points! Go for the liturgical response!
- The act of preaching can only be the tip of the communal iceberg.
I do think faithful preaching is extremely important in churches today, but it has to be something more than a motivational talk I could hear on PBS. Faithful preaching is more than just explaining the Bible and telling people to be nicer to each other. Preaching should never be reduced to three points and a "take home application". Tomorrow I’ll post what I think preaching should be.