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Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method Paperback – July 13, 1999
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"Practical and helpful counsel on preaching Christian sermons from the Old Testament. This is a book well worth reading and applying to our teaching of the Word of God." -- Haddon Robinson
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Within his book, Sidney Greidanus challenges pastors to take up the Old Testament and show their congregations Christ. He spends multiple chapters answering the question of how to accomplish this task with a sound hermeneutic. In his review of Christian history, he points out the shortcomings and strengths of those who preceeded this generation. By examining the New Testament he extracts principles for preaching Christ, and then develops a method that keeps the expositor faithful to the text.
Where many books on this subject have fallen short, Greidanus succeeds. He writes in a scholarly and yet easy to read manner. The depth and breadth of the subject is covered in a clear outline, and the book is constantly centered in the authority of God's word. If you are seeking to grow in preaching Christ from all of the Bible, then this book is worth your time.
One example is the famous story of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22. Greidanus warns against the dangers of ignoring Genesis 22 as written for Israel and it's ramifications for Israel. The author warns against the dangers of biographical preaching which tends to look for attitudes and actions of the biblical characters and drawing contemporary applications based on these attitudes and actions, rather than focusing on the biblical author's intent of Israel. He warns against generalizing and universalizing the text, where God's testing of Abraham is applied to every Believer. God does not test all of his saints the way Abraham was tested; God does not call us to lay down our Isaac's as an atonement, and God does not reward our obedience by rescuing us. These are not unbiblical points, but it's not the point of the text. God putting for his Son for us was not contingent on our obedience. And God did not reward our obedience by putting forth Christ. God put forth Christ, and as a result we are able to obey God by trusting in Christ. The story of Abraham and Isaac in Gen. 22 was originally written to Israel to:
1) Teach Israel that it lives only by the grace of the Lord's covenant
2) move Israel to gratitude for the Lord's grace in providing a substitute offering
3) encourage Israel to fully trust their faithful covenant Lord to provide redemption
These three points can easily be applied through the New Covenant. There are many example such as this one throughout the text of this book.
The only critique I have is that Gredianus seems to press the necessity of preaching Christ in every single sermon. This is evident in his critique of John Calvin's preaching.
Gredianus writes: "According to John Leith, Calvin's purpose in preaching was to render transparent the text of Scripture itself. Although this goal is admirable in itself, from our perspective Calvin did not sufficiently focus on producing Christ-centered sermons in the context of the whole of Scripture."
Calvin probably did not always focus on producing Christ-centered sermons, because the scriptural text does not always produce a Christ-centered sermon. Yes, all Scripture eventually points towards Christ, but on this point Calvin was right to focus more readily on the immediate context of Scripture rather than forcing every passage into the grid of redemptive history.
Due to the text-book nature of this work, as well as it's length, I recommend this book as a resource for preachers.
At this point one may seem skeptical to ask if he is suggesting that preachers should read Christ into OT texts that were not historically about Christ. He addresses this both historically and methodologically with a firm no.
The thought of the book progresses smoothly and naturally. The first four chapters of the book are an historical survey of preaching Christ throughout Church history. This survey focuses in on the Patristic and Reformation periods.
In the last four chapters, Greidanus turns to a viable methodology for preaching Christ from the OT. For Greidanus, (who is firmly anchored in Dutch Reformed covenant theology), Christ is the center of all of the history of remption to which all the OT institutions and events ultimately pointed.
The work is both timely and provocative. It is sure to challenge any average preacher, especially those who deliver a steady diet of New Testament based sermons.
is a minor volumne in hermeneutics but also, a major volumne in how the Old Testament is correctly used in preaching Christ.
Christocentric preaching is produced when the Bible is viewed as one united book about God's Creation, man's fall,
redemption through Christ,and the new created heavens and earth.