Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy (272 pp).

Goldsworthy's central thesis is that all texts in the whole Bible bear a discernible relationship to Christ and are primarily intended as a testimony to Christ. He endeavours to establish the place of biblical theology in preaching any sermon from both OT and NT. He is a very strong proponent of the redemptive-historical (called by him, "biblical-theological") approach to preaching. This is to be greatly appreciated.

In the first 100 pages, he answers basic questions such as: "What is the Bible?"; "What is preaching?"; "What kind of unity does the Bible have?"; "How does the Gospel function in the Bible?"; and "What is the structure of Biblical revelation?" Throughout this first part of the book, he strongly advocates the importance of the discipline of biblical theology.

The book becomes more interesting in part two where he deals with the practical application of Biblical theology to preaching. He offers chapters on how to preach from all the different genres (OT historical narrative; OT law; OT prophets; wisdom literature; Psalms; apocalyptic texts; Gospels; Acts and epistles). The preacher who wants to follow the biblical-theological (redemptive-historical) approach will find much help here. Valuably, Goldsworthy demonstrates his points with many helpful examples.

What makes this work distinctive is how the author insists that the redemptive-historical approach must be applied throughout the NT as well as the OT. The Dutch debate of the 1930s (which the author refers to) between the redemptive-historical and the exemplarist schools did not get much beyond discussing how to preach OT historical narrative. Goldsworthy, clearly advocating the redemptive-historical approach, demonstrates how this way is to be applied to all the genres, of both testaments. In this Goldsworthy has added some important words to the discussion.

Goldsworthy's insistence that the relationship of Christian living to the work of Christ be clearly understood is also important. The preacher should never expound Christian living (sanctification) apart from the gospel event. Sanctification is justification in action.

What is also to be appreciated is that Graeme Goldsworthy is seeking to bring this way of preaching into the evangelical world. Those who want truly to preach Christ stand to learn from this book.