jesus isn't Christian preaching | O.C. Edwards
O.C. Edwards writes an encyclopedia article on the History of Preaching:
There are several genres of Christian preaching, including at least the missionary or evangelistic, catechetical [teaching/training], and the liturgical [context of worship]. ... Such a sermon may be defined as a speech delivered by an authorized person applying some point of doctrine, usually drawn from the biblical passage, to the lives of the congregation with the purpose of moving them to accept that application and to act on the basis of it
Clearly there is little in the New Testament that can be identified according to these criteria as Christian preaching. ... The preaching of Jesus could be thought to provide an exception, but it fails to on at least two counts. First, since it's content was the breaking in of the reign of God, and it refers only by implication to its proclaimer's role in that inauguration, it is not, strictly speaking, Christian preaching.
Edwards Jr., O.C. “History of Preaching” in Willimon, W., & Lischer, R.. Concise Encyclopedia of Preaching. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995.
Edwards goes on to invalidate most of Paul as a model for preaching as well. I'm not sure I could disagree more. If Jesus proclamation doesn't fit out definition of Christian preaching, isn't it time to examine our definition?
My model for "preaching" for a number of years has been modeled on Jesus, phrased perhaps as:
"Like Jesus, we use stories, (i.e. narrative, setting, character, plot (tension), etc) set in our down-to-earth lives to illustrate (<-- too weak...embody?) the kingdom of the heavens—the subjective revealing the objective, the temporal as eternal. We tell stories contrasting what life is like inside the kingdom and outside the kingdom for the ears of four "rings" of people within earshot: the absolutely committed, the followers, the apathetic or curious, and the skeptics."
This is my model of preaching, using what I find from Jesus. I know it's not typical of whole streams of the church's exegetical preaching. But I think this is one that many got wrong. I wonder what O.C. Edwards would think.