Adjust Agenda?

Yesterday I quoted from JI Packer’s chapter on Charles Simeon in Preach the Word.  I wanted to finish quoting the paragraph since it is provocative and perhaps helpful:

The motive behind his almost obsessive outbursts against Calvinistic and Arminian “system-Christians,” as he called them, was his belief that, through reading Scripture in light of their systems, both sides would be kept from doing justice to all the texts that were there.  Be “Bible-Christians” rather than slaves to a system, he argued, and so let the whole Bible have its way with you all the time.  Whether or not we agree that such speaking is the wise way to make that point, we must at least endorse Simeon’s “invariable rule . . . to endeavour to give to every portion of the word of God its full and proper force.” (Packer, in Preach the Word, 147-148.)

Perhaps you might substitute a different theological label into his quote, but still I think the point is helpful.  It is naive to think that we can simply preach the Bible in a theology-neutral way.  However, there is a great difference between reading every text in light of your system and constantly adjusting your system in light of the biblical text.  In that sense, let’s preach as, and let’s preach to motivate, “Bible-Christians.”

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