Preaching Christ from the Old Testament

Friday, May 18, 2007

“…Luther does not wish to ignore the Old Testament in preaching. In fact, he vehemently opposes those who would reject the Old Testament. He scolds them: ‘What a fine lot of tender and pious children we are! In order that we might not have to study in the Scriptures and learn Christ there, we simply regard the entire Old Testament as of no account, as done for and no longer valid’” (Greidanus, 117-118).

Is the Old Testament a valuable resource for the pulpit? Does the one who takes the pulpit to preach only use the Old Testament as a database of quotes and stories? Can a sermon be crafted from the Old Testament to represent Christ using a responsible hermeneutic? For those of us who have heard sermons from the Old Testament (if there are any of us), we have probably heard wonderful sermons from the Old Testament and sermons that lead us down a path of speculation and bad proof-texts. For many of us, the pulpit is bereft of a sermon from the Old Testament, leaving us in ignorance with regard to a majority of God's Word.

Pastors everywhere need to bridge this gap for their flocks. Sidney Greidanus has provided a valuable resource for the pastor, teacher, and student: Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method. In this text, Greidanus gives us a solid, biblical rationale for the preaching of the Old Testament. Moreover, he gives an incredible lesson on the approaches different theologians have used throughout the history of the Church. He highlights the struggles and triumphs. Not afraid to be critical of certain techniques, Greidanus is quick to cite those with whom he disagrees, showing their strengths (if any) and weaknesses. After the history lesson, Greidanus takes the reader through his method for interpreting the Old Testament texts.

I think that this text would be of great value for anyone who will invest the mental energy! It is difficult at times, but the author provides example after example, holding the reader's hand (and attention) throughout the whole text.