January 14, 2010

Does this sound biblically correct to you?

Question asked: If we are to proclaim the "whole counsel of God," why do you preach predominately from the New Testament?

Answer Given: Paul said that he was a minister of the new covenant. Since he was responsible to preach the new covenant, I think it is compelling for us to herald the new covenant, too. What we find then is that we must primarily preach Christ and herald the new covenant, which is New Testament literature, the mystery now unfolded that was hidden in the past.

At the same time, we draw on the illustrative material in the Old Testament. I think the Old Testament material can be summed up like this: First, it describes God. Then, it gives His law for life, His rules for righteous behavior. Third, it shows how God blesses those who obey, and fourth, how God punishes those who don't. The Old Testament also becomes the great source of illustrative material as we reach back to get some of the magnificence and fullness of God before the cross.


Another personal component for me is that when I was in seminary I realized that I could not be expert in Greek and Hebrew at the same time. Having had twenty-four units of Greek in college, I decided to follow that up and pursue New Testament studies as a primary objective for my own life and ministry.


The third little piece for me is that I have a personal goal in my life to preach through the whole New Testament. I desire to herald faithfully all the counsel of God and the revealed mystery of the new covenant. Occasionally, for variety I will sprinkle in an Old Testament series such as a study of Genesis or Daniel, or a character study.


My Note: Paul also said, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

3 comments:

G. N. Barkman said...

I just read an article by Steven Lawson stating that John Calvin always preached from the NT on Sundays. OT was for weekday mornings (when many Sunday-only worshippers were not present). Perhaps this is not as unreasonable practice as some believe.

I trust you and Mike have had a wonderful time together!

TruthMatters said...

To use Calvin’s pattern as an example for us is problematic for many reasons. To mention just a few: There were three churches in Geneva and the Word was preached everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. It would be difficult to know (with any certainty) 1) who attended and when; and 2) if Calvin would have preached from the Old Testament on Sundays if preaching and church attendance was limited to primarily Sundays as it is today.

Calvin preached over 2000 sermons from the Old Testament, verse by verse from the beginning to the end of many books. He preached a year on Job; 15 months on Deuteronomy, and 3 years on Isaiah. He preached 123 sermons on Genesis; 174 on Ezekiel; and., even 25 sermons on the 5 chapters of Lamentations and 5 sermons on the one chapter of Obadiah. On Christmas Day 1551, he based his sermon on Mic 5:7-15. But, hey, perhaps Christmas didn't fall on a Sunday that year. :-)

Spurgeon would be a much better example of OT verses NT sermons as by the 1800's the majority of people attended Church services only once a week. His Old Testament sermon archives are massive. To illustrate: He preached over 60 sermons (on Sundays) from Song of Soloman alone--and none were self-help sermons on how to love your wife or how to have a better marriage.

In contrast, the pastor who was quoted in this blog post (after 40+ years in the pulpit) has not preached a single sermon from the following Old Testament Books

2 Chronicles
Ezra
Hosea
Leviticus
Nehemiah
Joel
Numbers
Esther
Amos
Deuteronomy
Obadiah
Judges
Micah
Ecclesiastes
Song of Solomon
2 Samuel
Zephaniah
Haggai
2 Kings
Lamentations
1 Chronicles
Ezekiel
Malachi

The mere facts speak for themselves. OT is being neglected. The reason for this (I believe) is his dispensational theology.

But, that's a topic for another time. It does determine, however, how much importance and significance is placed on the Old Testament.

Anyway - enough about all that.

Thank you for sharing the Steve Lawson reference and thank you for dropping by. Michael and I have had a most wonderful time in deed. We are just starting day 6 and have 4 more days (counting today) before he flies back.

We will be worshipping tomorrow evening with you, via live webcast. Thanking the Lord for modern technology!

Take Care and God Bless

G. N. Barkman said...

You do know your Calvin. Hat's off to you. As much as I admire Spurgeon, I can't see him as a good example for pastors. He hop scotched all over the Bible in an almost eenie, meenie, miney, moe fashion. His sermons are hard to categorize (textual is the usual designation), but he often strayed from the confines of the text. He tended to turn many texts, particularly OT ones, into a kind of allegory, often ignoring the basic thrust of the text, or else after having made a few remarks about the meaning of the text in his introduction.

I would state, unhesitatingly, there has probably never been a greater preacher than Spurgeon. And yet, I would never hold his sermons up as examples for young preachers to imitate.

And yet, who am I to speak of Spurgeon unfavorably in any way. If I were living in London around 1860 to 1892, I'm sure I would want to be a member of Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle, and sit under Mr. Spurgeon's ministry as often as I could.

Thanks for the exchange. Please tell Michael we look forward to seeing him next week.