From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George




Reformational Preaching

By Timothy George
January 9, 2017

The preaching of the Gospel as a sacramental event is at the heart of Reformation theology. Preaching is also at the heart of Reformation faith—preaching as an indispensable means of grace and a sure sign of the true church. Where is the church? According to Article VII of the Augsburg Confession (1530), the church is that place where the Word is purely preached and the sacraments are duly administered. The Second Helvetic Confession (1566) went even further when it declared that “the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.”

Of course, preaching—unlike the printing press—was not a new invention of the Reformation era. Far from it. Think of Augustine and Chrysostom in the early church, Bernard of Clairvaux, John Hus, and the many mendicant friars who fanned out across Europe in the Middle Ages. St. Francis preached the Gospel to a Muslim sultan, and Savonarola declared God’s judgment on the sinful leaders of Florence. Bernardino of Siena, the great Franciscan herald, preached to throngs in the fifteenth century, calling on his listeners to repent, confess their sins, and go to Mass. The Protestant reformers knew this tradition and built upon it, but they also transformed it in two important respects.

First, they made the sermon the centerpiece of the regular worship of the church. Prior to the Reformation, the sermon was mostly an ad hoc event reserved for special occasions or seasons of the liturgical cycle, especially Christmas and Eastertide. Most sermons were preached in town squares or open fields. The reformers brought the sermon back inside the church and gave it an honored place in the public worship of the gathered community. The central role of preaching in Protestant worship can be seen in the way the pulpit was raised to a higher elevation as families gathered around with their children to hear the Word proclaimed. Read the rest at First Things.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Tuesday, January 17, 2017
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The Dean Recommends: Paul House - Bonhoeffer's Seminary Vision

By Jonathan J. Armstrong
December 23, 2016

Paul House explains what seminary ought to be from the perspective of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945), the brilliant theology professor in Germany who died a martyr at the close of World War II. Paul House teaches Old Testament Theology and Hebrew at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. House has a wealth of teaching experience and has served on the faculty at Taylor University, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, and Wheaton College. Watch or listen to the entire interview at the Aqueduct Project.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Monday, January 2, 2017
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The Dean Recommends: Betrayal & Shame - The US Abstention From Allegiance With Israel

By Gerald R. McDermott
December 29, 2016

For the first time in the history of the United States, we failed to condemn an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations.

On December 23, 2016, our government abstained, rather than opposed (as all previous presidential administrations have done), an anti-Israel resolution (UN Resolution 2334) that condemned its West Bank settlements (even in East Jerusalem, where expansions to long-existing Jewish communities have not been criticized by past Palestinian leaders) as illegal.

Then yesterday, John Kerry defended our abstention as the only way to keep the two-state plan alive. He failed to make serious mention of Palestinian terrorism, which has been the main obstacle to a two-state solution because it has revealed support for terrorism by the same Palestinian Authority that would head a putative Palestinian state. He also failed to note that Arabs attacked Jewish presence in Israel long before 1967, when the first modern settlement on the West Bank was built. West Bank settlements are not, and never have been, the root cause of Arab hostility to the Jewish state. Read the rest at Providence Magazine.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Saturday, December 31, 2016
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