on preaching and theology

May 24, 2009

What’s the task of the preacher? Is she/he the comforter of the church? Is she/he to be the critical voice of social transformation? Is the preacher the person who is to answer the questions of day-to-day practical life from a religious perspective? Is the preacher the authoritative voice speaking the words of God?

Does my questions reflect the age-old question of a priestly and a prophetic role. Of a pastoral and a prophetic role. I recall that Moltmann said somewhere that the church have become so pastoral that it has lost it’s prophetic voice. But ain’t the church supposed to care for the flock? But which flock? Is the flock that’s paying your salary by default the flock that you should care for? When do we turn prophetic? Is there a danger in being a prophetic voice? Maybe we are too quick to think of ourselves as prophets, to quick to preach social transformation, I mean, do we really understand what social transformation should look like?

But saying that we should be slow on the prophetic voice closes a large portian of the text that we hold sacred for preaching. Can the preacher do anything but preach the text? Open the text? Well, we are sure busy doing more than this…

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7 Responses to “on preaching and theology”

  1. mynhardt Says:

    preaching/prophetic voicings sound a little too high to come by, for me at least. i prefer to use terms even the unchurched will easily understand…

    i suggest the main goal of a single person talking, and a group gathering together [as that is where most speech making happens], to be to inspire those within earshot towards greater influence and impact while on mission.

    the scriptures actually refer to “stirring up one another for love and good works”, or as the KJV states to “provoke/contend with/irritate” one another…

    another couple of points:

    * i believe this applies to believers and non-believers alike;
    * this doesn’t necessarily have to happen through talking;
    * this even doesn’t have to happen at an official gathering of the faithful;
    * “provoke unto” has nothing to do with inspiring feelings of guilt;
    * i finally suspect that the time for “traditional preaching” as we’ve come to know it has expired, and i don’t care what mark drisscol says. 😉

    thanks for bringing this up. that’s it for now.

  2. michaelrowancurle Says:

    mynhard. You say: “i finally suspect that the time for “traditional preaching” as we’ve come to know it has expired, and i don’t care what mark drisscol says.”? What do you mean by “traditional preaching”. If you think that we don’t need the Word explained by gifted people anymore than you’re mistaken. Look around you.

    Cobus: I believe that the preacher’s role is to “devote yourself to the teaching of the Word”. Social commentary and social transformation should be the result of this preaching – starting in the life of the Church. The real question is, should we call all ministers “preachers”? Maybe we need to extend our thinking and our Church budgets beyond “paying the preacher to make us feel guilty”.

  3. cobus Says:

    Micheal, you rather sound like a Reformed to me:-) but coming from this tradition where we have been saying that exact thing “devote yourself to the teaching of the Word” – thus kind of expository preaching kind of thinking, for generations, some problems is becoming apparent with this approach.

    • michaelrowancurle Says:

      good point. Maybe your right. Although… there have been some exceptions to the rule that I can think of. In fact, I was amazed to see just how much social justice stuff is being put into effect through various lay-people (reformed, pentecostal, non-denominational, anglican – you name it!) in the greater Mkondo area. So maybe the years of preaching haven’t been as ineffective as we imagine.

  4. Diogo Bochio Says:

    Hey Cobus,

    I’ve been asking myself the same question (among many others) for quite sometime.

    I guess you and I share some passions and some frustrations. I’ll tell you what has kept me going for quite some time.
    I’ve been doing what I have to do, according to what I can do right now (I guess you’ve got the hang of what I am saying), hoping for the time when I get the chance to be different, to stand for what I believe in and to act according to what my heart, knowledge and most importantly, according to my conscience.

    I hope it relieves you that there are others out here (in my case, in Brazil) that are just as uneasy with what is going on as you.

    Here stech Ich, Ich kann nicht anderes!

  5. Nic Paton Says:

    “Preach always, with words if necessary.” St Francis.

  6. cobus Says:

    Diogo, knowing that people all over the world is asking similar questions really help!


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