Thursday, August 14, 2008

The world came into existence by virtue of a sermon preached by God.

"The world came into existence by virtue of a sermon preached by God. We live in a day when some would ask, is preaching still relevant, is preaching still necessary. It is, only if you are Christian. The Bible begins in Genesis 1 with God being the first preacher. Creation comes into existence by God's proclamation. We see God is our creator. He creates by preaching. Ten times, God said. And seven times, God saw. When God's word goes forth it accomplish. It accomplishes life. We are following in the example of God. In his image and likeness. Which includes preaching. It reveals God. It creates order. It brings life. It creates an environment in which life can come into existence. The preached word brings the church into existence. It divides. It has authority. It accomplishes what it was intended to do. In Genesis 3 there is another preacher. The serpent. He preaches to our first parents. He undermined God's word, God's authority, bringing death. The question is not - will there be preaching, but what will be preached? Where there is a low view of preaching, the serpent will preach. Oprah is discipling America. One of the serpents lies is that we need not preach...."
Mark Driscoll: Putting preachers in their place at Text and Context conference


  1. by virtue of a sermon, or by virtue of the spoken word?

    the sermon is the spoken word, even the spoken word of God, but isn't it a subset of the spoken word which can take other forms (conversations, written words etc)?

    There is a analogy but I don't think it is quite so tight as Mark Driscoll claims.

  2. But, God came into existence.... No he didn't did he..

    Being is more basic than words.

    Not that I disagree with the sentiment of the post. Just putting preachers in their place... :)

  3. It's a preacher using an image. I think it works. Contrast (a little later in the talk) - it wasn't by walking thru a labyrinth, blogging, conversing etc.

    As a 75 minute defence of preaching it's second only to Piper on why expository preaching is particularly glorifying to God.


  4. Hyperbole to uncover unhelpful trends can be powerful but has Driscoll not just played into the hands of those who dismiss preaching by imposing on the text a pretext or context that is not in the text itself?

    John gives us the interpretive framework for the "and God said" being "the logos" who was enfleshed in Christ Jesus. Using 'sermon' to describe what is happening in Gen 1 (or Gen 3) is a early 21st Century reframing of the text itself which in itself unravels the power of the text.

    God isn't preaching, he's creating the seen and the unseen (excepting Himself).

    The Word indeed proclaimed is the Word for our world. It is beautifully glorious as God's Word spoken after Him. It bears life and fruit. It is worth living for and dying for. Driscoll is not wrong in that, but he is not right to frame the beginning of all things as a sermon. The illustration does not serve the intention at all well.

    Or am I being too harsh?

  5. Didn't Handel call Genesis 1 God singing? Is there any difference... helpful to think of Genesis 1 and remember it's God speaking... speaking/preaching/singing...??

    Was a helpful idea to me!

  6. I've been thinking about this a fair bit (having to ration thinking time too) and I think what I find most difficult about this is that it isn't just an image but a re-imaging of Gen 1.

    I wasn't aware of Handel's quote on the creation narrative but I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't have gone on to say that therefore singing is therefore a prime and necessary way in which God communicates with His people; or even that singing therefore encapsulates God's being.

    Driscoll is arguing that preaching glorifies God in a unique way because it speaks of Him in His own prime mode of self-revelation. It was indeed, in Driscolls preach, the primary act of framing the theatre of God's self-revelation. Preaching therefore is more than an image of how God creates, it is the means by which He creates.

    My objection here is that we hear 'preaching' and essentially think of the sunday preach as though it is what God was doing in creating. Preaching, where it is most glorifying to God, is expository exegesis - making the plain meaning God's Word plain into the shifting cultural melee of cross generational multi-ethnic Church.

    I like Driscoll's style, his preaching and his provacative call to listen and obey but here in this use of image I disagree. God is not preaching He is creating. The latter is not the former.

    Creating in speaking The Word frames creation in such a way that The Word made Flesh is powerfully communicated two thousand years on in spoken and written words is truly a wonder. That the written Word can be comprehended thus leading to Christ Jesus worshipped, adored, known (and done so in the context of words) throughout the whole world is mind blowingly awesome.

    Equating a western model of preaching with the creative act of Genesis 1, I think denegrates God's Word and is close to dangerous ground of elevating a model, that God may well be honoured in, to a position of idolatry. Much as they people did to Gideon's ephod (Judges 8.27)

  7. That's fair and I have difficulty disagreeing with you - even on rationed thinking you're way ahead of me.

    Tentatively, I still wonder if there is something of a connection due to 2 Cor 4v6 and the connection there to preaching?

    Preaching then is more the verbal declaration of the rule of Jesus... Preaching doesn't have to mean western style preaching. Preaching then is so vital not because of it's style or model etc but because it is declaring Jesus is Lord.

    But, I may have muddled things too much, and might just be better off letting the idea go...