Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Finished "Preaching To A Shifting Culture

Earlier this month I read the last two chapters of "Preaching To A Shifting Culture: 12 Perspectives On Communicating That Connects" edited by Scott M. Gibson.

In "Evangelical Preaching In A Global Context" by Timothy C. Tennent, Tennent points out that today only 10% of Protestant Christians live in the Western world. 67% live in Asia, Africa and Latin America. For the first time Christianity is flourishing mainly where western culture and ethnicity are not predominant. This situation brings to the Universal Church the challenge of bringing the universal Christian message into many different local contexts. As these non-western regions are becoming preservers of orthodoxy within their many cultures, we cannot view these regions only as the "mission field." They must be viewed as equal partners with the western Church. The Church will be strengthened as non-western views and practices are utilized to shore up the weakness of the western Church. Particularly, the West needs to break its bad habit of engaging in purely theological debate without taking into account the missional context of the Church. Tennent quotes a theologian on African theology: "African theology does all the things which theology in general does, but in African theology all these other functions are embraced in a missionary or communicative function. It is not primarily an inter-ecclesiastical exercise, but a discipline driven evangelization."

The final chapter, "Biblical Preaching in an Anti-Authority Age", editor Gibson encourages pastors not to abandon the practice of grounding their messages in the authority of scripture, as the Bible, through the Holy Spirit, is self-authenticating. To preach to a culture adrift, Gibson states four things preachers must do:
1. Reclaim an unmitigated adherence to the authority of the Bible.
2. Cultivate theological discernment.
3. Understand the culture.
4. Reclaim a Biblical base for the theology of preaching.

Now that I have finished this book, which is now falling apart, I will again continue reading Wesley's work on Original Sin and Baukham's book on the Gospels as eyewitness testimony.

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