Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament

844499: Preaching Christ From the Old Testament Preaching Christ From the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method

By Sidney Greidanus / Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Christ-centered preaching from the Old Testament has been largely overlooked by contemporary scholars, but Greidanus's landmark study remedies this situation. Emphasizing the necessity of preaching Christ from the Old Testament, Greidanus traces the history of Christological preaching; interacts with contemporary hermeneutical discussions; and offers concrete steps to help you move from Old Testament text to Christian sermon. 365 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.

It seems obvious that the purpose of a Christian sermon is either to point the congregation to or to strengthen them in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The central themes of our worship service should always be related to the cross. Dr. Greidanus asks us to consider carefully if our preaching from the Old Testament does this. He asks the question “could our sermons on Old Testament texts have been given by a rabbi in a synagogue?” This is an amazingly insightful and relevant question for us to ask. Are we ignoring the central theme of the Old Testament when we use it in our church services? If so, we are left either with moralizing sermons that lack the power of the revelation of God’s grace or we are simply preaching Old Testament sermons.

Dr. Greidanus does not stop there. If we are indeed preaching Christ from the Old Testament he asks us to consider how it is being done. Throughout church history there have been a number of approaches, such as allegorical interpretation, that ignore the grammatical historical teaching of particular Old Testament texts and leapfrog artificially to the New Testament revelation. Dr. Greidanus rightly points out that this is not appropriate because it is not really preaching the passage but relies primarily upon the creativity of the preacher rather than the message of the Word. Rather than simply critique these trends Dr. Greidanus offers detailed explanations and examples of how to develop Christ centered messages from Old Testament texts that do not twist the historical-grammatical meaning of the Old Testament text but use that as the foundation for preaching its fulfillment in Christ.

This is a very helpful book that demonstrates first rate scholarship and yet is still readily accessible for those with an interest in the subject. I highly recommend this book to preachers, teachers, and anyone else with an interest in applying Old Testament teaching to the Church.

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