Sunday, 20 March 2011

Preaching as Testimony

Now I don't plan to make a habit of this but here's another post quoting a chunk of a book on preaching.  I guess that's what happens when you resolve to post regularly(ish) on Sunday evenings and then you spend Sunday afternoons preparing for Monday morning's homiletics class.

We are looking at preaching as a form of testimony so we're still in Ricoeur and Brueggemann territory. However, to spare the class from my Brueggemannamania I'm channelling what he does with Ricoeur's testimonial hermeneutics through Anna Carter Florence.  This comes from her excellent Preaching as Testimony.  [Yes I know I should have turned that into a nice convenient amazon link but If you thinking of getting a copy of the book - and you really should - I'd quite like you to do it via the Stuff I Recommend box on this blog.  You'll need to go to page two of the widget.]

… preaching cannot be the proclamation of absolute truth; it never has been.  There is no such thing as infallibility or inerrancy; there are no universal truths for us to access or own at will.  There are only fleeting glimpses of the truth we see and confess in Jesus Christ, the truth that encounters us, in concrete human experiences, by the grace of God.  Preaching is testimony: a proclamation of what we have seen and believed.  It is claim and confession rather than absolute and certitude.  And because the context for testimony is one of struggle and divergent opinions … a sermon like any other testimony, must make its way in the world as best it can, through an invitation to believe rather than a command to obey.

All of which sounds rather appealing to this preacher.  An approach to preaching with more modesty and thereby, more authority.

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