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Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All…
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Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures (edição 2007)

por Dennis E. Johnson (Autor)

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Membro:mpatrickriley
Título:Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures
Autores:Dennis E. Johnson (Autor)
Informação:P & R Publishing (2007), 512 pages
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Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures por Dennis E. Johnson

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What is the purpose of preaching within the worship and ministry of the Christian church? Is it to teach those gathered in worship more information about Jesus? Is it to teach about the impact of a particular ministry, such as a community project the local church is involved with, or maybe of a missionary they support in service in some far-off part of the world? Is the purpose of preaching to inspire the listeners in some way? Is it to give them encouragement to become actively involved in bringing peace and justice into the world?

All of the options I’ve mentioned may be valid, but they all are secondary to a greater purpose. I believe that the primary purpose of preaching is to proclaim Christ, and to do so in such a way as to emphasize the redemptive work that God has done in him, and him alone, which was God’s plan before the creation of the world. And this same perspective is the one taught by Dennis Johnson in Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from all the Scriptures.

Johnson is firmly anchored in what is known as the Redemptive-Historical understanding of the Bible. He reads and preaches the Bible from a perspective that expects the Bible to reveal Christ and his uniquely redemptive work, either directly or indirectly, from the opening words of Genesis through the closing words of Revelation. He believes that it is possible to preach “in such a way that our hearers are led to Jesus as the climax toward whom every Scripture drives, and to do so with integrity, accountability and credibility,” (272)

Johnson recognizes that the redemptive work of Christ is not the unifying element of preaching for some preachers and/or their faith traditions, and that there are preachers for whom this emphasis is not “on their radar,” so to speak. He looks back to the preaching of Peter and Paul, in the book of Acts, to show us that Christ’s finished work was the primary focus of their preaching and that this focus remains relevant and appropriate for the church today. He calls the preaching of Peter and Paul “apostolic, Christocentric preaching” and he devotes the first portion of the book to making a case for this type of preaching in the church today. In doing so he reviews the work of the apostles and then explores the ways in which the church has historically interacted with their model, including both its rejection and later recovery.

After making what I believe to be a compelling case for apostolic, Christocentric preaching Johnson shifts to giving practical instruction in how it can be done, which is the part of the book that I found to be overflowing with wisdom for the modern preacher. The idea suggested in the subtitle of the book “Preaching Christ from all the Scriptures,” that all of scripture is filled with Christ, and filled in such a way that it can be preached to a modern congregation, may seem to be an impossible one. Preaching Christ from Chronicles? Preaching Christ from Psalm 102 or 113? Preaching Christ from Revelation 12? The Bible is filled with page after page after page of many types of literature, written by many human authors, over a span of thousands of years. Can Christ, and particularly his redemptive work, be found and made known in all of it? To these questions Johnson offers a resounding “Yes!” as he points out the landmarks that would guide a preacher desiring to follow the redemptive-historical path.

The last two chapters of the book are titled “Preaching the Promises” and “Preaching the Promise Keeper.” In these chapters Johnson deals in turn with the various literary genres of the Old and New Testaments. Working with an example of each genre, i.e. historical narrative, law, wisdom, poetry and prophecy for the Old, and gospel narrative, parable, epistolary doctrine, epistolary exhortation, wisdom and prophetic vision for the New, he demonstrates the ways in which each sample text bring forth the redemptive work of Christ. And for his examples Johnson hasn’t picked texts in which Christ is patently obvious, but he uses examples such as 2 Samuel 16:1-14, Proverbs 15:27 and Luke 16:1-13.

In the example from each genre Johnson explains in very real ways the markers that point towards Christ and God’s eternal plan to redeem his people. To give further help to the preacher in understanding and applying the apostolic, Christocentric method he provides an outline of what a sermon shaped on the sample texts could look like. Johnson’s method and purpose are not merely theoretical, but he is also attentive to the fact that all preaching should speak with relevance to the lives of those listening in our congregations each time we gather for worship.

I could go on and on about how good this book is and the very gentle and practical wisdom it offers to the preacher who would seek to make the finished work of Christ the unifying point of their preaching. Instead I will conclude with two final thoughts, as I commend all who “preach,” be it vocationally or in their living as a disciple in the world, to consider their own work on behalf of God. The first is related to the title of the book, Him We Proclaim, which comes from Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

The singular work that God did through Christ is the only bridge in which a sinful man or woman can cross over to be united with a holy God. This is the message that must continually be brought to the world. The Gospel has many things to give shape to our lives in the love of God, but none of it matters absent the redemptive work of Christ.

And the second reason we need to frequently and joyfully preach the redemption known in Christ is that while living in a fallen and broken world we are bombarded with things that push us away from him. All believers in Jesus have known times when their mouths professed faith but their hearts were going in the opposite direction. And those living without a saving faith in Jesus are not even aware of the barriers in their lives blocking their understanding of God’s word. In either case these words of Johnson are true:

“[The] defenses of the human heart are harder fortifications to breach than the massive walls of unscaleable stone that encircled ancient Jericho. Yet, the apostolic preacher has in his arsenal the very weapons that can pierce stone-hard hearts and invade spiritual death with new life: the gospel of Christ, carried forward by the invincible Spirit of Christ.” (90)

As you read this book and apply its principles may you know God’s power and peace as he reveals Christ to you in all of scripture, so that you may carry his redemptive work more fully in the world. ( )
  BradKautz | Jan 14, 2012 |
Any book which includes "Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures" in its title instantly grabs my attention. How Christ is revealed in the Old Testament, and how the Old Testament foreshadows New Covenant realities has been a theological interest of mine for some time. So when P & R Publishing agreed to let me review Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures, I was thrilled with the opportunity. I hadn't known of Dennis Johnson, but I did recognize Westminster Seminary California where he is Academic Dean and Professor of Practical Theology. So with P & R as publishers, and the Westminster connection, I trusted it would be a good book.

I was wrong. It was a phenomenally good book. In every way it exceeded my expectations. 500 pages is quite a bit of ground, and with that space Johnson covers an awful lot of territory. Even still, by the end of the book, I was eager for more.

The book is part hermeneutic manual, homiletic textbook, and preaching guide. It's a polemic for apostolic preaching (that which recognizes the Christological bent of all of Scripture) even as it is an explanation for how to be exegetically careful in handling Old Testament texts. As I said it covers a lot of ground.

The book is divided into two parts: first Johnson makes the case for apostolic, Christocentric preaching. He then he fleshes out the practice of that preaching. Johnson contends that:

"Christians need to be shown how to read each Scripture, first in the context of its original redemptive-historical epoch, and then in terms of the focal point and climactic "horizon" toward which the particulars of God's plan always pointed, namely Jesus the Messiah, who is the second and last Adam, seed of Abraham, true Israel, royal descendant of David, and obedient and suffering Servant of the Lord." (pg. 49)

Such preaching today is not all that common. Johnson traces the history of how the Church has interpreted, and preached the Scripture. Behind the preaching of today's "twenty-first century evangelicals", lies both "the Reformation's hermeneutic restraint and the Enlightenment's faith in scientific methodology as part of our almost invisible but virtually inevitable mental framework" (pg. 126-127).

As an antidote, the major portion of the book focuses on a positive treatment of how to preach Christologically. Johnson focuses on Hebrews as an example of an extended Apostolic sermon, and goes on to carefully model his approach to preaching in five or six passages from each testament. The exegesis is very sound, and only with great care does Johnson run from the OT text to Jesus. But he does run to Jesus, and he shows us how to find the Biblical path to Jesus from most any Scriptural text.

It is not only the Scriptural promises of the Messiah that point to Jesus, "What God said in the words of the prophets as they pointed Israel's faith toward the future in the imagery of the past and present, God had also said through his design of the events of the history of Adam, Noah, Abraham and the patriarchs, Moses, Israel and David." (pg. 226) Johnson shows how not just from the Old to the New, but often from older revelation to newer revelation in the Old Testament itself, God makes use of foreshadowings and types. The prophets use the imagery of the Exodus and the wilderness wanderings as they pronounce judgment or promise future blessing for Israel. Johnson's emphasis on how the Old Testament uses the Old Testament is extremely helpful and not something I've encountered before in the whole discussion of the NT use of the OT.

With this background, Johnson can argue,

"Because of the occasional character of the New Testament, however, we should not conclude prematurely that Old Testament texts that are not explicitly interpreted typologically by a New Testament writer cannot be read in the context of Christ's climactic work as Lord and Servant of the covenant, and as prophet, priest and king. Rather, we must seek to relate particular texts to the broader structures and institutions that provide the framework for God's relation to his people throughout the history of redemption." (pg. 279)

Such an approach, Johnson admits, "requires a more comprehensive hermeneutic perspective." He proceeds to provide just such a perspective. He argues that Christ's role as the Mediator, and his threefold offices, Prophet, Priest and King, provide overarching themes by which to find Christ in the Old Testament revelation. He shows how to preach the promises in the Old Testament, and how to then preach the Promise Keeper in how we handle the New Testament. Showing how the NT passages interpret and fill up the OT provides a unified view of God's redemptive work which truly ministers to the believing soul.

This work doesn't stop with theory and theology. Johnson provides numerous discussions of texts in the book, working through the passages step by step. After exegetical discussion, he provides simple outline with application points for the passage at hand. He then offers an appendix with two sample sermons that are more filled out. After reading all the sermon outlines, and seeing how the theory comes to life, one will certainly be impatient to try out this method of preaching for himself.

I can't think of another similar book that rivals Him We Proclaim. If you are looking for a book to help revolutionize your preaching, or something to challenge your perspective of the Old Testament, look no further. For anyone interested in theology or aiming for a better understanding of how all of Scripture fits together, this book will be exceedingly helpful. I'm proud to be able to recommend such a great resource as this.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

An expanded version of this review is available at CrossFocusedReviews.com, where you can find book excerpts, giveaways, promotional offers, audio reviews and more. ( )
  bobhayton | Aug 16, 2010 |
This books does much to reclaim the "long lost" Old Testament by showing that Christ taught the Old Testament spoke of Him and how it truly does. The gospel is proclaimed in all the books of the Bible. ( )
  BookAlert | Sep 28, 2008 |
The best defense of redemptive historical preaching out there. He is also sensitive the valid critiques of those who have abused redemptive historical preaching in the past. Read this book before you get in the pulpit. ( )
  nate77 | Oct 4, 2007 |
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