Stupid Things Evangelicals Say

Styles of Preaching

Posted Thursday, March 01, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Culture and Theology   Comments: None
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I have decided to start a new series. This new series is entitled: Stupid things evangelicals say. The general spirit of the series is to show how our conservatism blinds us to reality. If any of you fellow theoblogians have any contributions, please add to the series. The first entry is from a review of an excellent book: The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative by Steven Mathewson. Mathewson notes that often an inductive style is good for preaching, where the main point of the sermon is developed over the course of the sermon and stated explicitly only at the end. In contrast to this, the classic evangelical sermon is deductive, where the main point is stated clearly at the beginning and the end. But the reviewer says the following about this:

    It is at this point that some readers, including the present reviewer, have their greatest tension with Mathewson's suggestions. Although induction is the best approach to the study of OT narratives, is it the best means of exposition? The biblical text is an objective revelation from God whose meaning needs to be explained to a contemporary audience. For example, Ezra and the Levites "read from the book, from the law of God [which included narrative], explaining to give the sense so that they understood the reading" (Neh 8:8). The inductive, "moves" approach implies that the hearer will discover the sense from a sermon, whereas a deductive, "point" approach implies that the expositor gives the sense to the hearer. It seems that the latter approach is more consistent with the biblical mandate.

Well, I guess the author of Chronicles really missed this biblical principle. What was he thinking? That his audience would understand what his points were even if he didn't state them anywhere? I sure am glad we have only good deductive sermons today!

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Good KJV Preaching and Urinating

Posted Friday, March 21, 2008 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Hermeneutics   Comments: None
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Some friends of mine played this youtube clip for Doug Moo on a break in our class (it is about five mintues long). If you want to know what is wrong with America today, why the NIV and NKJV are bad translations, and, most importantly, what it means to be a man, this is the sermon you need to watch. It also serves as an excellent "argument to absurdity" of how some evangelicals treat the Bible. One part of the text the speaker misses, however, is that the text says "wall" quite specifically, which would have an effect on his interpretation of the text. This has been traveling around the blogosphere, I picked up the address from Ben Witherington's blog. The youtube clip has been viewed over 130,000 times. 

As funny as this video is, the issue he brings up is a problem, although not how he thinks. See Codex Blogspot for two posts (1 and 2 ) about this. The Hebrew text does say "him who urinates against a wall."  But the modern translations all say "male." They certainly get the referrent right: it does refer to males. But this is not speaking about males in a positive light: this is fairly crude and derogatory language, which "male" does not communicate. This is the classic problem of translating both the literal meaning as well as the way the literal meaning would have been understood or felt. If it is correct that this refers to an action of dogs, then a modern equivalent would be urinating on a fire hydrant, something (at least in my mind) more closely connected with dogs doing their thing. But one cannot simply introduce fire hydrants into an ancient text.  My best shot would be some kind of combination: all the males, all the ones who urinate against a wall like a dog. Or something like that. 

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