Summer series . Some years ago, we asked Sinclair Ferguson to write a brief paper for us on preaching Christ from the Old Testament. Over the next week or so, we’re going to publish an edited version online as part of our summer series. It’s worth some time. The discipline of biblical theology has slowly but surely found a place in evangelical preaching. As a result, it has now become a commonplace in the teaching of homiletics to stress that we must preach Christ in all the Scriptures in a manner that takes account of the flow of redemptive history. In particular we must learn to preach Christ from the Old Testament without falling into the old traps of an artificial exegesis. But how do we legitimately preach the text of the Old Testament as those who stand on this side of Pentecost? What difference does it make to expound Genesis or Psalms as believers in Jesus Christ? Or, to put it in a more graphic way, how can we reconstruct the principles of Jesus’ conversation in Luke 24:25-7 and 45, and learn to follow his example of showing how all the Scriptures point to him so that hearts are ‘strangely warmed’ and begin to burn? In particular, how may we do this without lapsing into what we (sometimes a little too cavalierly) deem to be either patristic allegorising or post-reformation spiritualising? If only we had heard how Jesus did this on the Emmaus Road, in the Upper Room, during the forty days between his resurrection and his ascension, we might grasp the principles by which it is done, so that we too could genuinely preach the text of the Old Testament as Christian preachers and not as rabbis! Yet we must also preach the Scriptures without denuding them of the genuine historical events they record and the reality of the personal experiences they describe or to which they were originally addressed. How, then, do we preach Christ, and him crucified without leapfrogging over these historical realities as though the Old Testament Scriptures had no real significance for their own historical context? In discussing the pre-Christ revelation of God as Trinity B.B. Warfield describes the Old Testament as a richly furnished but dimly lit room. Only when the light is turned on do the contents become clear. That light has been switched on in Christ and in the New Testament’s testimony to him. Now the triune personal being of God becomes clear. To read the Old Testament with the light switched off would be to deny the historical reality of our own context. On the other hand, we would be denying the historical reality of the text and its context if we were to read and preach it as though that same light had already been switched on within its own pages. Thus our task as Christian preachers must be to take account of both. Fulfilling that task drives us back us into the basic hermeneutical question for the Christian exegete: How do we relate the Old Testament to the New Testament? The longer we labour in ministry, the more we ask that question. The more we know about the answer to it, the more we realise there is so much more left to explore. It is a life-long pursuit. Over the next few days, I’m going to make a few comments and suggest some principles that are generally applicable and may be specifically helpful to the preacher.
I love reading. I don't think that comes as a surprise to many who know me or visit my office where I am trying to cultivate a Polytechnic version of a Oxbridge Don's study with various piles of books scattered around. I can't help it. I love reading. But you may be surprised to know why. I had a day off this week to do some home things with Mrs R, getting ready for our holiday in a few weeks time. Afternoon came around and England were bowled out. What next? I'm really very bad at doing nothing. I can't stand it, in fact. That, coupled with the Messiah complex that all of us have, at least in part, could be very bad news. It would make me a workaholic. Someone who can't switch off but constantly needs to be checking emails and the like. That could easily be me. Neither can I just zone out. I love sitting by the pool, but I can't do that with nothing in my head. I'm always mulling over things, checking them over in my mind, rehearsing and repeating events of this day and tomorrow. That's a real hiding to nothing, I can tell you for free. Or, worse still, my attempts to empty my head lead to all kinds of unhelpful stuff drifting in that I do well to avoid. You get the drift. And so I read. It helps me fill my mind with useful stuff. Not junk. And not sin. And not work. It's a switch off. And for that reason alone (even though there are others), I love it. So I commend reading to you. A guard against too high a view of self, sinful thoughts and workaholic-ism. It's why I'm taking away a few books this holiday.
Monday 22nd June 2015 –
Wednesday 24th June 2015
EMA 2015: Identity Crisis - Preaching to a confused world. Speakers will include Christopher Ash, Tim Keller, Mike Raiter, Andrew Reid, Vaughan Roberts, Bruce Ware and John Wyatt. We're confused about identity. We're confused about gender and sexuality. We're confused about race. We're confused about the beginning and end of life. The 2015 EMA will focus on a biblical theology of humanity: if we can be clear about the Bible's teaching on humanity, then we can be joyfully confident in our own identity in Christ and equipped to preach to a confused world.
Marriage and Ministry September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014 –
Wednesday 24th September 2014
A 24 hour stopover hosted by Wallace and Lindsay Benn for up to 14 couples. Based at the Oast Houses, Kent. Marriage can be tough. Ministry can be tough. Together, they can be an explosive combination. What should be a joyful partnership sometimes turns out to be the very thing on which both ministry and marriage founder. We cannot let it.
Started in 1991, PT Cornhill exists primarily to train preachers, as well as equipping men and women to teach the Bible in other contexts, such as youth/children's work and women's ministry. Click here for more details
Our "collections" are specially selected talks which have been grouped together to help you make the most of our resources. We are currently featuring a collection of pen portraits of major Christian figures from history by Vaughan Roberts given at EMA over a number of years. Or click here and use the collections filter to see other collections.