Yesterday I started a list of five alternative labels to ponder for the preacher. Rather than the Christiconic model espoused in Abraham Kuruvilla’s, Privilege the Text, why not consider these labels for the goal of our preaching? Are we representing individual facets of Christlike morality in each pericope that we preach, or is something greater going on? Yesterday we thought about Christotelic and Christodoxological preaching. Here are three more labels, this time ones I have never heard used elsewhere (you will understand why!)
3. Christopisteuic (Preaching that aims for faith in Christ) – Faith is the gaze of our heart and soul on the provision of God in Christ. So let’s preach each passage in such a way that the text is honoured, but the listener is not pointed to themselves, their effort, their application, their duty. Instead point them to Christ that they might believe in Him. It is a life captivated by Christ that will manifest a self-giving and therefore genuinely Christlike morality that may shock onlookers. (People are used to seeing self-focused morality that is profoundly unattractive.)
4. Christ0-agapic (even Christofileic) (Aiming for the love of Christ, or brotherly love of Christ) – I am getting closer to the title I really like. The greatest commandment is to love God and love neighbour. If anyone does not love Christ, he is accursed (1Cor.16:22). Let’s make the love of Christ our saviour, our friend, our groom, our brother . . . let’s make that our goal.
5. Trinitari-koinonic – I think this is my favourite label describing the goal of preaching. Fellowship with the Trinity. What an honour! So as we preach the revelation of God’s heart in the Scriptures, let’s be sure to recognize how each text is revealing God, pointing to his values, recognizing his provision in both Christ and the Spirit, and delighting in his goal to bring us into the embrace of the Godhead by union with the Son through the Spirit. It is in union with Christ that we discover true life change, because it is only in union with Christ that we can know life itself. By our union with Christ we can share in the fellowship of the Trinity and thus see radical life transformation. Anything less, and looking anywhere else, will always disappoint.
Any other suggestions welcome. Preaching Christ in His Word is such a privilege, and Kuruvilla is right that we have to think carefully how we do that.