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Use of Scripture in Preaching Reaffirms Its Authority

Scott Hafemann of Wheaton College writes: "Unless we regain a serious study of the Scripture in our pulpits and pews, we will end up redefining the role of the Protestant pastor altogether by denying in practice the authority of the very Bible we are purporting to preach. If the pastor, not to mention those of us in the congregation, no longer struggles to decide for himself what the text means, the authority for preaching will once again reside in our pope, wherever we find him. The pastor then downsizes his role to that of a book reviewer.

"What is worse, (because) the pastor is still going to 'preach' from the Bible, the authority for preaching now resides in the rhetorical power of the presentation, not in its content. So instead of wrestling with the text, he invests time in searching out illustrations for a basic, thematic, generalized and pietistic sounding message. This approach makes popular, entertaining preachers, but it loses the Bible altogether...

"A serious study of the text reaffirms the nature of biblical revelation and communicates to the church the locus of meaning and authority of the Scriptures does not reside in us, but in the text we labor so hard to understand. In his weakness, Paul argued for his authority from the Scripture in contrast to his opponents, who relied on their personal power, mystical experiences, rhetorical prowess and public reputations. So, too, we turn to Scripture because we are convinced the authority of our gospel derives from the inerrancy, sufficiency and power of the Word of God" (see 2 Corinthians 1).