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A theology of preaching – part 2

Go to theology network for the full paper on preaching.  I'll post it here in chunks.  Be great to talk about it if you want to comment.

The Speaking God

Let’s begin at the beginning.  Our God is the Speaking God.  The eternal life of Father, Son and Spirit has ever been an out-going, communicative life.  Because our God simply is Trinity there has never been such a thing as a God who then comes to speech.  Arius was wrong.  There is not a God who then has a Word.  God’s existence does not precede His expression.  Rather God’s expression, His Word, is eternally constitutive of His life.  God is always and eternally the Speaking God.  To encounter His Word is not to be obstructed or distanced from a divine reality behind His disclosure.  Rather to receive His Word is to be drawn into the depths of His eternal reality as the Speaking God.  Revelation, as the unfolding of God's own life in Word and Spirit, is not simply what He does.  It is who He is. 

From the overflow of this communicative life came creation.  Again, by His Word and through the Spirit, God brought all things into being (Genesis 1; Psalm 33:6; John 1:1-4).  The universe exists in correspondence to God's Word.  "God said... and it was."  This means that to be is to be an obedient hearer of the Word.  The universe is His congregation and, derivatively, His herald (Psalm 19:1-6). Humanity, as the pinnacle of creation, is supremely called to appropriate God’s revelation.  Our vocation, not simply as Christians but as creatures, is to receive the Word.  And in receiving the Word we participate in the life of the Speaking God. 

What is more, He comes to participate in our life.  In incarnation, the Word comes not simply to man or even just in man, but as man.  God’s revelation could not be louder or clearer.  The Word, Jesus Christ, reveals His Father through His words and actions (e.g. John 14:5-11).  Both these words and actions were committed to Him by the Father (e.g. John 5:19ff; 8:26,38; 10:37f; 15:15; 17:6,14).  These words were entrusted to the disciples and these actions were witnessed and remembered by them, all through the power of the Spirit (e.g John 16:12-15).  In the power of that same Spirit, these disciples proclaimed them to the world (e.g. John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8).  The world’s response to this witness is their response to Christ, and their response to Christ is their response to the Father (e.g. John 14:22-26). 

To put it another way, the Father Himself confronts us in the Person of His Son and the Son Himself confronts us in the Spirit-empowered words of His messengers (e.g. Matthew 10:40).  From Father to Son, from Son to His bride and so out into the world the Spirit carries divine revelation. 

Contemporary proclamation is not simply the remembrance of past events or the recitation of ancient words.  To proclaim this Word in the power of this Spirit is to stand in a stream of revelation which both preceded and produced the universe.  Our words witnessing the Word have their source and authority in the Speaking God who graciously includes us in His ongoing life of self-disclosure.


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