I just recieved a new book that I’m very excited about. Christian Preaching: A Trinitarian Theology of Proclamation, written by my preaching professor Dr. Mike Pasquarello, is an attempt to change the subject of preaching from ourselves to the Triune God (p. 10). Pasquarello believes that, “…much popular, pragmatic preaching reduces the church’s affirmation of the creating and redeeming activity of the Trinity to manageable size by focusing on and offering principles to apply, rules to follow, and things to do.” He continues, “This approach is essentially a form of ‘moralistic therapeutic deism’ that places the sovereign self at the center of salvation, church, and world rather than the Triune God (p. 9).”
Pasquarello believes that many of the technique oriented approaches to preaching puts the emphasis on the wrong subject. Instead of new ideas and pragmatic methods, he suggests we preachers need, “for our lives and the lives of those to whom we preach to be more truthfully located within the gospel – the life, work, and speech of the Triune God (pp. 10-11).”
These points do not make one the most popular preaching professor when facing a bunch of folks training for the weekly grind of a ministry involving preaching! Most of my classes with Dr. Pasquarello had at least a student or two who were pretty frustrated because they wanted techniques, methods, and “stuff” that works. If it’s technique you want, there is no shortage of books out there for you to read, but there are very few modern works that seek to ground preaching in the Triune life of God. I really am looking forward to reading this book, and hope to interact with it here on the blog as I read along.