"I was speaking with a prominent English conservative evangelical not so long ago, and we were talking about preaching. He had a gripe: the phrase 'bible teaching' ...it has crept into the evangelical vocabulary to describe what used to be called 'preaching'. A church is great, we will say, because 'the bible teaching is excellent'. But, he said, the vocab change is significant: it represents a shift to a more cognitive, flat and explanatory style of discourse. The hearers will not be exhorted or edified so much as 'taught'. What's more, and perhaps more seriously, we talk less of preaching Christ, but of teaching the Bible. A subtle but significant difference perhaps?
Very challenging indeed. This is in some ways why i prefer preaching from the Old Testament to the New. If i spent thirty minutes talking about the Passover from Exodus 12 it's probably easier to notice the lack of Christ exultation than if i was preaching from a letter, for example. I often find that when i'm in the New Testament i assume the Gospel rather than find out and show how this page is covered in the blood of Christ. I want to preach, i want to enthrone, i want to exult, i want to demonstrate Jesus Christ from the pages of scripture as more valuable than anything we have or will ever have, see or will ever see, taste or will ever taste. Anything ever.
Or maybe good teaching eventually morphs into preaching? The preachers i enjoy the most don't 'just' get excited about Christ while they're in the pulpit, they slowly and Biblically build their case from the text in front of them. Is preaching the overflow of good exegesis? When the preacher sees and applies whats in front of him he can't help but move to expository exultation? Teaching itself is just the communication of information, that's what teachers do in schools. That's not what the pulpit is for, BUT without this information what is it our idol manufacturing hearts are worshipping? I think we need Bible teachers, we need people to explain glory to us verse by verse, but that can't be the end of it. Surely this information then needs to be taken 'to the centre', and this is where it turns into preaching. The Bible is a glorious lens, and we need to look though it.
So this is my burden with the Senior High class tomorrow. Not to show them that Luke 15 is actually about the older son not the prodigal, not to get them excited about Luke's Gospel because Luke was so clever, but to show them how Luke 15 glorifies Jesus and to excite them about Luke's Gospel because of what it shows us of our Saviour.