From the Dean

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

Page 3 of 140

The Dean Recommends: Preaching That Unleashes the Bible's Power

By Timothy Keller
October 26, 2015

There are two basic forms of preaching: expository and topical. Hughes Oliphant Old defines expository preaching as “the systematic explanation of Scripture done on a week-by-week…basis at the regular meeting of the congregation.” Expository preaching grounds the message in the text so that all the sermon’s points are points in the text, and it majors in the text’s major ideas. It aligns the interpretation of the text with the doctrinal truths of the rest of the Bible. And it always situates the passage within the Bible’s narrative, showing how Christ is the final fulfillment of the text’s theme.

By contrast, the main purpose of “thematic” or “topical” preaching is not the unfolding of the ideas within a single biblical text but rather the communication of a biblical idea from a number of texts. Topical preaching may have any one of several aims. It may be to convey truth to nonbelievers (evangelistic preaching) or to instruct believers in a particular aspect of their church’s confession and theology (catechetical preaching). Festal preaching helps listeners celebrate observances in the church year such as Christmas, Easter, or Pentecost, while prophetic preaching speaks to a particular historical or cultural moment.

I would say that expository preaching should provide the main diet of preaching for a Christian community. Why? Here is the main reason (though of course there are many others): Expository preaching is the best method for displaying and conveying your conviction that the whole Bible is true. This approach testifies that you believe every part of the Bible to be God’s Word, not just particular themes and not just the parts you feel comfortable agreeing with.

It is not enough to have a general respect for the Bible that you may have inherited from your upbringing. As a preacher or teacher you will come upon many difficulties in the Bible; and inevitably the biblical authors say things that not only contradict the spirit of the age but also your own convictions and intuitions. Unless your understanding of the Bible—and your confidence in its inspiration and authority—are deep and comprehensive, you will not be able to understand and present it convincingly. Instead of proclaiming, warning, and inviting, you will be sharing, musing, and conjecturing. Read the rest at Christianity Today.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Friday, November 6, 2015
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New York Times Best-Selling Author Timothy Keller to Give Lecture at Beeson Divinity School

By Kristen Padilla
November 5, 2015

Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School is pleased to announce that Rev. Timothy Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, will be giving a lecture open to the public as part of its Faith, Work, and Economics series on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Keller is a renowned speaker and co-founder of The Gospel Coalition. He also is a New York Times bestselling author with two of his books, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism and The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, having sold more than 1 million copies and having been translated into 15 languages. 

“Timothy Keller’s deep interest in this subject has resulted in his significant book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, and the establishment of a major faith and work ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan,” said Mark DeVine, director of the Kern Family Foundation Faith and Work grant and associate professor at Beeson Divinity School. “We look forward to Keller’s visit as part of our Faith and Work series here at Beeson.”

The public lecture will take place at the Samford University Wright Center at 11:00 a.m. on November 8. 

More details about this event will be posted at a later time.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Thursday, November 5, 2015
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Thin Places

By Timothy George
November 2, 2015

The following is a meditation for All Saints Day presented at Christchurch in Montgomery, Alabama.

Several years ago, my son Christian and I, along with our friend David from Brazil, made a pilgrimage to Skellig Michael. Skellig is the Irish word for “rock,” and Skellig Michael is a rocky mountain island jutting 700 feet out of the icy waters of the North Atlantic, just off the coast of County Kerry in western Ireland. When Charles Lindbergh made his famous solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927, Skellig Michael was the very first thing he saw of Europe.

Five hundred years after the birth of Christ, Celtic monks came to live and worship on this island. Buffeted by howling winds and rough seas, enveloped in fog and rain and mist, they huddled together in the little beehive huts they had constructed out of stone. (These sanctuaries of solitude are weathered but still intact today.) They prayed. They copied the Scriptures and lifted their voices in praise to God, morning, noon, and night. Earlier, St. Antony had retreated to the African desert to preserve a Christianity that was being contaminated by secularized Roman society. Irish monks of the sixth century did not have a desert to flee to, but they did have an ocean. Skellig Michael was the most obscure and distant island of the known world. Shrouded in darkness, it became a lighthouse to the world. From places like Skellig Michael, the Gospel was carried forth by Celtic monks and missionaries back to Clonmacnoise and Glendalough in Ireland, and on to Iona and Lindisfarne in Scotland, and eventually to Fulda, St. Gallen, and Bobbio on the continent.

Sites like Skellig Michael are called “thin places” by the Irish. Thin places—not because the air is rarified or the land is narrow but because the distance between heaven and earth shrinks, and time and eternity embrace. A thin place is where the veil between this world and the next is lifted for a moment, and it may be possible to get a glimpse of what one’s life is all about—perhaps of what life itself is all about. Read the rest at First Things.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Monday, November 2, 2015
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