Reading Reflection:

Him We Proclaim, Dennis Johnson (P&R, 2007) So this massive volume has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now, intimidating me. Well, it’s not that massive, but well over 400 pages of scholarly material. In God’s providence I have had a pretty good (meaning bad) case of the flu all week. But, I am stubborn so it took me until yesterday to resign all my mommy duties and just. lay. down. My stash of books is running low (birthday orders are in) and so I came face to face with the beast. But given the genre and the flu, I’m only 109 pages in. So far, so good. I have read Johnson’s commentary on Revelation and loved it, as well as heard several of his lectures and morning devotions on my iPod. I think I might even have his commentary on Acts. Anyway, I do learn a lot from him and have been into the subject matter of Him We Proclaim. The subtitle, Preaching Christ from all the Scriptures, is a passion of mine as well. One thing that may have kept me from jumping in quicker is that the book is written more for pastors. But, as I thought, I’m finding it very helpful as a student of the Word and lay person as well. He calls this type of preaching Apostolic preaching, because the apostles interpreted the Old Testament in light of its fulfillment in Christ. We should do the same. Let me share an excerpt he gives us about my Spurgee: In his sermon on 1 Peter 2:7, “Christ Precious to Believers,” Spurgeon attributed to a Welsh preacher a story that resonated with Spurgeon’s priority in preaching. A young preacher, having preached in the presence of a “venerable divine” and asking his evaluation of the message, was perplexed to hear it judged a “very poor sermon.” His lack was not in the research, selection of text, or use of argument and metaphor, but in the fact that “there was no Christ in it.” When the young man defended himself by contending, “Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text,” his mentor replied:
“Don’t you know, young man, that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?” “Yes,” said the young man. “Ah!” said the old divine, “And so from every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And, my dear brother, your business when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now what is the road to Christ?’ and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis—Christ. And,” said he, “I have never found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that has not a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there be a savour of Christ in it.”
While concurring wholeheartedly with Spurgeon, the Welsh preacher, and the old divine that every text of Scripture is on a road that leads to Christ, I must confess that on occasion brother Spurgeon’s sermons (admittedly more eloquent and passionate than mine) strike me as involving much hedge climbing and ditch fording, when the Spirit of God has already blazed a clearer and more convincing trail by means of the apostolic writings of the New Testament (15-16). I shared that because I think the road to metropolis is such a great metaphor for this kind of preaching and for reading your Bible. The flu has drained me of insightful reflections, so if you have any, feel free to comment.