All Preaching, Evangelistic Preaching- KellerJuly 17, 2007
I wonder if you would agree with Tim Keller’s comments today? I do, which is why I’ve included it in Tuesday’s Classic Materials. But I would be interested to hear if you have a different take and why.
“Normal preaching should be evangelistic preaching. Ordinarily, ‘edificational’ preaching is more oriented to behavior (“you must obey Christ in this way and this way”) while ‘evangelistic’ preaching is usually oriented toward belief (“you must believe in Christ in this way and this way”). But this misses the unity of the human soul. Edwards in his Affections argues persuasively that, essentially, “if you truly believe, it changes behavior, and if you are not behaving properly, it is because of unbelief.” A person may say, “I know God cares for me, but I am still petrified with fear.” No. If they are running in fear, it is because they don’t ‘know’ God’s care.
Therefore, any failure in behavior in Christians is due to unbelief. The antidote to unbelief is a fresh telling of the gospel. So, if a sermon is Christ-centered in its exposition and application, and if it is oriented toward a) dismantling the unbelief systems of the human heart, and toward b) re-explaining and using the gospel on the unbelief – then it will be highly illuminating to non-Christians even when it is aimed primarily to Christians. Preaching that cannot both edify and evangelize at once is choosing behavior over belief or belief over behavior.”
(Tim Keller; Preaching in a PostModern City, part II)