The Biblio-Files

bib·li·o·phile (bĭb'lē-ə-fīl') n.

1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books.


Preaching and Biblical Theology

Ed Clowney's book 'Preaching and Biblical Theology' is a classic. It was first published in 1961. Clowney recently passed away (2005) and was Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he served for 30 years, 16 of them having been as president. Clowney unashamedly stands on the shoulders of Geerhardus Vos, writing, "The preacher who takes up Vos's Biblical Theology for the first time enters a rich new world, a world which lifts up his heart because he is a preacher. Biblical Theology, truly conceived, is a labor of worship" (18-19). Here is the Table of Contents:
I. What is Biblical Theology?
II. Biblical Theology and the Authority of Preaching
III. Biblical Theology and the Character of Preaching
IV. Biblical Theology and the Content of Preaching
Chapter 1 lays out what Biblical Theology is, isn't and what it involves. Chapter 2 interacts with Dodd, Bultmann, and Barth, and sets forth a brief theology of Scripture. Chapter 3 is about the importance of Biblical Theology, and noting the time and place in which we preach. This section has some good insights on preaching to edify and evangelize.
Clowney has a high view of Scripture, and a high view of preaching, writing, "It is an act of worship. Our preaching often lacks the punctuation of the exclamation point of praise. Unlike the Scriptures, our sermons are so centered on men that they neglect to bless God. The doxologies that burst from Paul in the midst o his expositions never trouble our placid pools of prose (73). . . . Most important of all, biblical theology serves to center preaching on its essential message: Jesus Christ. . . . He who would preach the Word must preach Christ" (74). He also has some helpful exhortations on the usefulness of preaching moralistically from the OT (cf. James 5.11, 5.17, 1 Cor 10.11). He closes the chapter with some examples from OT biblical texts.
He finishes the book focusing on the text in its historical period and broader biblical-theological context, the text in God's total revelation, and some points about symbolism, typology, and several examples.
Overall this is a good book for preachers, although it is a bit outdated. Dennis Johnson's new one, may serve the same end, but may be a better resource. Also see Clowney's 'Preaching Christ in All of Scripture' which is a book of redemptive-historical sermons.
"On all sides it is recognized that any who would take the New Testament seriously must be confronted by eschatology. . . . Preaching that has lost urgency and passion reveals a loss of the eschatological perspective of the New Testament. . . . He is not aware that he ministers in the time of the ascended Christ, the time of the fulfillment of all the prophets in his saving rule" (67).
"Once the necessity and the fruitfulness of the method is recognized, however, no worthy workman in the Word can refuse the effort it requires. He is called as a scribe of the kingdom to bring forth treasures new and old, and any labor that issues in a fuller preaching of Christ has its reward" (112)
"Yes, to Jesus we come, for with richness of figurative language, wealth of ethical insight, and depth of redemptive-historical grasp we are brought by the Scriptures to Jesus. God spoke in diverse manners has spoken in a Son. What focus in brought to our preaching in this approach" (121).


Unknown said...

Sorry for the jumbled text. I have spaces when I type it, but when I post it, it jumbles all together.

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