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Preaching and God’s Self-Revelation

“Our initial point is that God himself wills to reveal himself.  He himself wills to attest his revelation.  He himself — not we — has done this and wills to do it.  Preaching, then, takes place in listening to the self-revealing will of God.  Preachers are drawn into this even.  It is of concern to them.  They are called by this event.  The event becomes a constituent part of their own existence.  Because God has revealed himself wills to reveal himself,and because preachers are confronted by this event, their preaching — if they are commissioned to preach — is necessarily governed by it in both content and form, in the logical content of what is said and in their relation to the fact that God has revealed himself and will reveal himself.  Preaching is not a neutral activity.  It is not an action involving two equal partners.  It can mean only Lordship on God’s side and obedience on ours.”

–Karl Barth, Homiletics (Louisville, KY: WJK, 1991), 50.

One Comment

  1. And this obedience can indeed be deeply painful for the preacher, for it may mean putting forward a face of hard granite to a deeply beloved flock. Explaining this faithfulness can often be quite difficult. Jonathan Edwards was driven out of his parish in Northhampton, Samuel Hopkins confronted slaveholders in his Newport parish, and Niebuhr took on the Ford Motor company fatcats in Detroit before he left for Union Theological Seminary. Its a rogues gallery of troublemakers we play with.

    Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

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