Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reformed Preaching: Redemptive Historical and Experiential

As we consider redemptive-hisorical preaching, we need to never forget that preaching at it's best must be "experiential." We can be so focus on the Christological point, which should be the center of the message, that we can forget the center will unfold like the petals of a flower. The preacher cannot neglect the petals in an attempt to make the center hold. Rather when we hold the center, we are in the best possible position to apply the text to the whole of life precisely because Jesus speaks to the whole of life.

In another work, Joel Beeke describes experiential preaching:
"[A] working definition of experiential preaching might be: preaching that seeks to explain in terms of biblical, Calvinistic truth how matters ought to go, and the end goal of the Christian life. It aims to apply divine truth to the whole range of the believer's personal experience, including relationships with his family, the church and the world around him." Living for God's Glory p.256
He goes on to show how this view of preaching is Word and Christ centered. It is more than exegesis but not less than. It is applicatory. This type of preaching is discriminatory, meaning it makes different points to Christians and non-Christians. Non-Christians are not comforted by false religion or by obedience. 

Joel Beeke's post offers the following on whether your sermon was practical:
Furthermore, you should ask how practical your sermon was. Application should not be given like a big bang at the end of the message. Each point of the sermon should be applied. The Westminster Directory for the Public Worship of God includes a chapter titled “Of the Preaching of the Word,” which presents several kinds of application. So ask yourself, did I use a variety of applications such as:
Instruction—to shape the mind and worldview with God’s truth?
Confutation—to expose and refute the doctrinal errors of our day?
Exhortation—to press God’s people to obey God’s laws by the means He provides?
Dehortation—to rebuke sin and stir up hatred for it?
Comfort—to encourage believers to press forward in the fight of faith?
Trial—to present the marks of a true believer for self-examination?[xxii]
Exultation—to help people see the beauty and glory of God so that they might love Him, fear Him, and praise Him with affection?
Christ-centered preaching at is best is not opposed to "practical application" what in the past as been called "experiential preaching." Rather there can be no good and proper application of the text if we do not first take hearer to Christ and his cross and apply the text to the whole of life through the cross. This is all to be done without violating the plain meaning of the particular text on is preaching on.

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