Gordon-Conwell Blog

National Preaching Conference: Stephen Um | Student Live Blog

September 06, 2012

Workshop 1 Speaker: Stephen Um--"Gospel Centered Preaching"

We should read the Bible as redemptive history, not simply as a body of moral principles. We might not all agree on what this means. The Gospel is not just a matter of moral information. Every text of the Bible is part of the big story of salvation and attest to God's saving purposes in Jesus Christ. In terms of how we get there in preaching we might not all agree. We read the Scripture Christologically. How do we preach Christ from every text of Scripture? We need to get to Christ in every text. How do we do that?

There are many different ways to preach Christ besides simple typology. On the road to Emmaus Jesus reads all of Scripture Christologically, pointing to Him, all the Scriptures testify about Christ (more verses on this). The Scriptures are a gift. We proclaim Jesus, not just Scripture. In exegesis we find the main idea, but the main idea is not the big idea. There are microcontexts and a macrocontext (the implications of the Gospel). We often emphasis the microcontext over the macro and this is unfortunate. We need to use this hermeneutic as preachers of the Gospel.

Some places to go that will help us in this manner: Greg Beale's (not exact title) "The Old Testament in light of the New Testament," The Bible Speaks Today Commentary (he uses this commentary series for preaching preparation), Ed Clowney's "The Unfolding Mystery," DeGraaf's "Promise and Deliverance." Stephen lifts up Tim Keller as one who does this well.

Gospel Centered Preaching Through Theme Resolution: A category to preach in this manner is those things that are RESOLVED in Christ. Only Jesus resolves redemptive themes. In the OT the plot thickens, there are unreconcilable tension within the plot that is unsolvable until Christ comes. The theme in any good story is not resolved at the beginning, but at the end. Here are two broad themes RESOLVED in Christ (i.e. examples):

1) Kingdom/Kingship. The theme of God's sovereign rule as the monarch is all throughout the OT. The freedom and glory of God's kingdom is lost when Adam sins. Jesus resolves this loss and redeems it! The only person who can resolve this is God himself. The OT speaks often of a messianic ruler who will come. Kingdom is a major theme. It is not fulfilled until Jesus. The tension introduced in the OT is resolved in the NT through Jesus.

2) Grace/Law in the covenant. Before the Law is given, God delivers. The Law is not a means of salvation but as evidence of your salvation. He delivered the Israelites in the exodus before they did anything! How does God's holiness and mercy relate? Only in the cross are both the law of God and the love of God fulfilled for eternity, we cannot resolve this tension before Jesus. How can a holy God relate to one who is so unholy? In Christ as the suffering servant. Grace comes first and law follows as a response. We must read law based verses (moral emphasis) redemptively or we will be crushed. It will encourage us however if we read it through the lens of the one man who has fulfilled everything that we can not! Jesus Christ fulfilled the law perfectly and now we have the ability to receive it and obey it.

Gospel Centered Preaching Through Law Reception: We must address the heart to be motivated and compelled by the love of God. We must look at Jesus' generosity and find ourselves compelled to obey the law. Jesus gives us the ability to receive the law and to obey. God knows that we can't obey and that's why we need a savior.

Gospel Centered Preaching Through Story Completion: If we look at the theme of sonship, we see it transcend through the OT into the fulfillment in the NT, both in Jesus and our adoption. Jesus completes this incomplete story of sonship in the OT. Adam is the son of God, Israel is the son of God, but they all fail as sons of God, they are incomplete until we find Jesus, the stories point forward.

Gospel Centered Preaching Through Symbol Fulfillment: Only Christ can fulfill symbols. The blood of the OT sacrifices point to the blood of Christ in the NT. When water bursts forth from the rock we relate that to references of Jesus speaking about being the living water, "I am the living water." We have the temple in the OT and Jesus is the new temple, he is the perfect temple, that tabernacles among us.

We need to seek these categories, looking at this macrocontext for situation how Jesus fulfills and completes everything. Jesus is the resolution for everyone, He is our answer, and this is what we preach, the redemptive reality of Jesus Christ!


JT Holderman is pursuing a Th.M. in Homiletics here at Gordon-Conwell. He earned his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2012. JT is currently in the ordination process of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church with hopes of taking a call as a pastor in the coming year. His journey to Gordon-Conwell began when he sensed a deeper need for clear Biblical teaching in preaching to prepare him for ministry. He hails from Seattle, WA by way of Idaho and New Jersey. JT blogs at Praise and is an avid Mountain Biker and Bodyboarder.


Tags: National Preaching Conference 2012 , student blogger

Add comment


No comments yet. Be the first!

Gordon-Conwell Voices