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Friday, January 21, 2005
 
Bonhoeffer on preaching ::

Finker had an interesting puzzle the other day, a longish quotation about preaching, to guess who wrote. It was an interesting experience (the competition is over now).

Here is the first paragraph from the quote:
Of course it is our aim to preach Christ and Christ alone, but, when all is said and done, it is not the fault of our critics that they find our preaching so hard to understand, so overburdened with ideas and expressions which are hopelessly out of touch with the mental climate in which they live. It is just not true that every word of criticism directed against contemporary preaching is a deliberate rejection of Christ and proceeds from the sirit of Antichrist. So many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say, yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus. Are we determined to have nothing to do with these people? They are convinced that it is not the Word of Jesus himself that puts them off, but the
superstructure of human, institutional, and doctrinal elements in our preaching. Of course, we know all the answers to these objections, and those answers certainly make it easy for us to slide out of our responsibilities. But perhaps it would be just as well to ask ourselves whether we do not in fact often act as obstacles to Jesus and his Word.
It fascinated me how varied the guesses were: Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Ryle, Spurgeon, Tozer. I have always thought that Bonhoeffer's writings (at least in translation) have an archaic sound to them! But the ideas, just hit home. I wonder if that will still be how I feel in another 20 years...


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