Friday, January 26, 2007

Dangerous Devotions: Reflection on the Bifurcation of Faith and History - Part 4

This was intended to be the final installment of a four part mini-series considering how fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have been guilty of paralleling the liberal division between faith and history (for details, refer back to the first post). However, this post developed into more data than I expected, especially the next segment, so I decided to break it into two more pieces primarily for visual effect (that is, so you wouldn’t take one look at how long the post is and say forget about it). The last two illustrations I want to consider relate to the popular approach to preaching and the way conservatives view the apocrypha.


I just want to touch on this briefly. Much of what I think here has already been marvelously articulated in Barker’s post Preaching Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors (there, I’ve done it; sorry the shout out is several months late J). If you haven’t read it, you should…even the comment section is worthy of perusal. The thrust of my contention here is the Haddon Robinson styled propositional preaching. While I’m not interested in rehashing the debate, I want to make a few quick observations. While it may be appropriate for Pauline rhetoric (at least at times) it may just do violence to other genres of Scripture. Even more pertinent, with regard to the present discussion, is the fact that it can lead to short changing history in the name of faith. In other words, similar to the quibble I made below about the ‘devotional Jesus,’ such an approach is quick to summarize, illustrate and apply what we are to do, though many will leave the church service without being able to articulate from the Scriptures just why they should do it. Thus the proposition comes close to a pontification and insufficient attention has been given to explanation. Explanation is surrendered in the name of application and heart has once again trumped head. As long as we can trust and obey the Jesus of faith, it doesn’t matter if we can understand the text of history (admitted intentional hyperbole simply to drive home the point here).


Darryl said...

Maybe your problem isn't with Haddon Robinson's approach as much as some of those who follow him poorly.

I've studied under Haddon and what he teaches, even in his big idea model, is pretty close to the Baskin Robins 31 Flavors approach.

People who treat the whole Bible as a Pauline epistle certainly are doing as Robinson teaches!

Nate Mihelis said...

If in that last statement you meant they are NOT doing as he teaches (I'm assuming it was a typo) than I'm glad to hear it. However, I would imagine that studying under him would probably allow for more of a nuanced approach than just reading "Biblical Preaching" and applying it rigidlly/generically to every text and genre. I've heard a messag he did on David and Bathsheba that wasn't just the typical propositional message and was quite good. Thanks for the clarification!

Darryl said...

Oops - thanks for catching my typo! ;)