Thursday, May 11, 2006

Informational vs Experiential Preaching

The “informational” view of preaching conceives of preaching as changing people’s lives after the sermon. They listen to the sermon, take notes, and then apply the Biblical principles during the week. But this assumes that our main problem is a lack of compliance to Biblical principles, when (as we saw above) all our problems are actually due to a lack of joy and belief in the gospel. Our real problem is that Jesus’ salvation is not as real to our hearts as the significance and security our idols promise us. If that’s our real problem, then the purpose of preaching is to make Christ so real to the heart that in the sermon people have an experience of his grace, and the false saviors that drive us lose their power and grip on us on the spot. That’s the “experiential” view of preaching (Jonathan Edwards.)

~Tim Keller (emphasis added)

(The quote is found on page 2 of the article.)


corey thomas said...

great quote. i think that this is our main problem as christians. somewhere we have lost sight of how much God loves us and the impact that has on our everyday lives. oh, how we need more passionate sermons on the sacrifice of Christ and less time spent on
"3 Steps to Christian Financial Success." or "4 Steps to Finding Rest in God."

Josh said...

good to hear from you. this quote has been haunting me, today. it captures what our music team sang last night in "give us clean hands"...'Lord we cast out our idols.' May our music and esp. our preaching exalt the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus over the deceitful pleasures of this world and our hearts.

Jonathan Dodson said...

Keller is golden on this. In fact, he has made the case that we should change our "unintentional preaching models" from:

text-authors intent-redemptive-historical context-application


text-authors intent-application-redemptivehistorical context

It is cunning because instead of sending folks off with "application" in hand, ready to exercise thier wills. They leave with the motivation to perform the application, teh gospel, the R-H context. By surfacing the application before R-H context, a problem is created. "How do I do this?" The answer: the gospel, Christ, the Trinity, grace, justification, alreadynotyet identity, or whatever the text holds out. People walk away with thier "hearts" moved to motivate application, which is in thier hearts as well as thier hands.

pretty good stuff i'd say...Edwards and Piper would be proud...

Moreso Jesus

Josh said...

Did Keller develop this at the last Ockenga lecture series?

I can see what you're getting at. Exulting in Christ at the end of the sermon as the object, pattern, and enbabler of our faith is a good model for affective preaching. It emphasizes gospel motivation rather than self-motivation.

We've been really battling through this at WBC a lot lately. From the pulpit and on the streets. It's so tempting to just tell ourselves and others to "try harder" all the while ignoring the power of the gospel to put to death the flesh.

I am anxious to be more intentional in my preaching and point our church family always to Christ.