Personal theological life-themes : keys to passionate preaching
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This project examines the impact and opportunities of the objective (transcendent) and subjective (experiential) elements inpreaching. The writings of Mark, Matthew, Luke, John and Paul, and the writing and preaching of John Calvin, Karl Barth, Frederick Buechner and myself, David Peterson, serve as key resources.
Chapter One defines the meaning of a Personal Theological Identity as God's unique revealing activity in and through our individual moments and personalities. These identities manifest themselves in certain themes that dominate all theological thought and speech and pose both rich resources and perilous obstacles for the preacher.
Chapter Two examines the impact of the interests of the various gospel writers upon the New Testament witness. The following four chapters carefully consider the writing and preaching of various individuals, identifying the themes that so often recur in their work:
Chapter Three: John Calvin (1) the sovereignty of God (2) Christ the mediator and (3) the vital need for orderly existence.
Chapter Four: Karl Barth (1) how does one Know God (2) God as the Being who loves in freedom and (3) to exist is to act.
Chapter Five: Frederick Buechner (1) the grace in the ordinary (2) facing the whole truth (3) the plot as a shared journey and (4) the silence in the plot.
Chapter Six: David Peterson (1) finding the "whys" (2) the audience of grace (3) transformation is always possible (4) freedom and grace and (5) the providential sovereignty of God.
The Seventh and final chapter summarizes the tension that dominates the work of the preacher. This tension requires that the preacher (1) listen for God by being fully absorbed in the daily drama of life and (2) attempt to see beyond the personal themes that so easily dominate the sermon by being continuously involved in theological investigation.