Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Skinny on Redemptive Historical Preaching

There seems to be much misunderstanding down here in the deep south about RH preaching. It appears that few here consider this method of preaching worthwhile. I find that unfortunate because it appears that the reaction against this Biblical preaching method leads to some very suspect sermons.

First let me set the record straight, RH preaching is not against application. This comes from a small, vocal minority from the pacific north west that is against any type of application. I do not support this and most Biblical Theologians do not either. There are plenty of imperative verbs in the NT, that is undeniable, the only point of contention I have is that they flow naturally out of the indicatives. It is only in light of what Christ has done for us that we are able to do what the Lord commands.

Second let me say I have heard some very moralistic sermons here that encourage believers to "Dare to be a David" or "Don't be like Moses." The problem with these kind of sermons are that these historical characters are types of Christ's we are not to emulate. To be sure there are examples we should identify with, we just need to make sure we identify with the proper ones. We are not to see ourselves as David defeating Goliath, we should see ourselves as the Israelites who stood by and did nothing to defeat this foe but were delivered by the type of Christ David was.

I write this in light of a comment I received from a local pastor who seems very opposed to the RH method. He has offered to come have lunch with me and I look forward to this. I have come to respect this particular pastor from interaction I have had with him on a yahoo newsgroup I have been involved with since before I began attending seminary. That being said, Ken I look forward to spending time with you and learning from your years in the pulpit.


Rick said...

I'm more confused after reading your post than before I started. Could you explain more about what "Redemptive Historical" is, and use words that the rest of us can understand?

Rob said...

Good post. Redemptive history has it's place, and you can't read about the patriarchs without seeing a giant, glowing neon hand pointing forward to the Messiah. Same thing when you read time after time after time of Israel's mess-ups. Mosaic law wasn't working for Israel: God continued to keep his side of the covanental bargain and Israel wouldn't. God sent prophet after prophet and Israel just kept killing them all off. Obviously, Israel wasn't getting it, and the prophets saw this and spoke about it, and it saw fulfillment with Christ's kingdom.

However, personally I know that it can be hard to glean the message of RH 100% from the OT (for instance, passages like Ezekiel and the bronze-skinned angel giving the dimensions of the temple walls, etc.)

dawn hild said...

I'm with Rick...
I need to know more about "Redemptive Historical" preaching.
Can we expect a follow-up post?

Ken said...

So call me Alan! :-) Don't blog about me without calling me. Ha. I will even pay for lunch. Better than that, email me! I am impossible to reach by phone --I hate that modern contraption.

WE may, in point of fact, be speaking past each other.

My point is not that we ought to live up to the exploits of OT saints.

My point is rather, when Jesus says that his followers ought to do something, we ought to do it.

We ought not to put it in the lens of "But Jesus has done it all for me."

Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation. And, in response, he has called upon believers to do certain things in response, namely order their lives in accordance with his teaching and follow him.

Part of my reaction against R-H, admittedly comes from whatever form of it has taken root not in the Pacific NW, but in Dutch Reformed circles.

I would say the choices don't appear to be two: R-H or moralism, but rather 3 --add experientialism in there.

And, experientialism ought to be redemptive-historical. No question about it. But, the big question then is, as you say, "so what?" What is your response to these truths?