[Allow me just a couple of more postings about Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Eric Metaxas’s latest biography.]
Preach the Word. Preach the Word. How many times I have been told, “Preach the Word!” Jimmy Butler here at Legacy exhorts me with, “Preach the Word, brother!” at least a couple of times every week. People write that to me at the ends of cards and letters and emails. I’ve written it and said it — even texted it — to my preacher friends countless times. In California, I’ve heard it shouted from the congregation as a preacher takes the pulpit.
Preach the Word. Yes. That is our call as ministers of the Scriptures. Proclaim boldly and courageously the Holy Word of God. Faithfully. Without compromise.
Bonhoeffer certainly pushed his students to preach the Word. But he encouraged them to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian proclaimer when he urged them to “trust the Word.”
In 1932, Bonhoeffer told his young seminarians at his illegal underground training school at Finkenwalde, “We must be able to speak about our faith so that hands will be stretched out toward us faster than we can fill them. A truly evangelical sermon must be like offering a child a fine red apple or offering a thirsty man a cool glass of water and then saying, ‘Do you want it?’ Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic. Do not defend God’s Word, but testify to it. Trust the Word. It is a ship loaded to the very limits of its capacity.”
Trust the Word. What a powerful idea.
We must understand that when the Word of our God is presented it will shake people, it will wake people, it will completely undo people. The Word of God has the power within itself to cause people to see their great need for salvation from God in Christ. If the Word is truly preached, the answers to the deepest needs of mankind will be received without all the baggage and camouflage and add-ons of “religion” and false piety and denominational hogwash. The grace of God, without filters and arguments, will touch people.
We don’t have to try to make it relevant. It is eternally relevant!
We don’t have to worry about it being powerful. It is supremely powerful!
And we preachers need to trust it. Trust the Word.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has promised us that not one bit of his proclaimed Word will ever return to him empty. Trust that great promise. Trust the Word.
The Packers and Steelers arrived in North Texas yesterday and brought snow and ice and temperatures in the teens and minus-zero wind chills with them. The roads are all completely iced over after an all night sleet and freezing rain and flurry fest. Schools are out today. The church offices are closed. Ditches are littered with abandoned cars. Tree limbs are snapping. Power lines are sagging. Nobody’s outside.
It was sunny and 75-degrees Saturday and Sunday. It’s 16-degrees right now, snowing, with 30-mile-per-hour north winds. I’m really interested to watch all the national shows tonight and read all the national press tomorrow to see how DFW fares in the eyes of the global sports media.
I’ve added another great link to the “Around the Table” page on this blog. It’s a click to several communion meditations by Jay Guin. I recommend checking them out. Instead of beginning your table talk this Sunday morning with, “When Howard called me last night and asked me to do the Lord’s Supper…” how about starting it with some theology? Some inspirational Scripture? A short illustration that ties what’s happening at the table today with Jesus’ meals from two thousand years ago or that great wedding feast of the Lamb to come? I invite you to read these meditations. And use them.