The problem is not just metaphysical, not simply a question of how one can talk about infinite God entering finite human existence (`Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man', to use Wesley's beautiful phrase). In this it is akin to the cross as Paul articulates it in 1 Corinthians: it is foolishness and a stumbling block. Foolishness, because the very idea of the sovereign creator and ruler of the universe being born of a teenage virgin in a stable in a tiny nation of no account at the far end of the Mediterranean is utterly ridiculous. Indeed, one might say that it looks very much like proof that God cannot exist -- at least, that is, God built according to our specifications and requirements. An offence because I do not need salvation, especially salvation brought by a pre-modern peasant's child in some backward place nobody would otherwise ever have heard of.Read the whole thing HERE.
Yet this is where the glory of preaching and hearing the word of God comes into play. Preaching is proclamation, and proclaim we must, however inadequate we might think our words and our delivery are. Preaching is not a carefully worked-out philosophical defence of what God must be like if the advent of Christ is to be true. Nor is it an attempt to make Christianity look sophisticated or moral as the world understand these things. Least of all is it stand-up comedy designed to entertain those who might otherwise seek their fun elsewhere. Its agenda, especially at Christmas, is not to be determined by unbelief or what the hipsters in the Village will tolerate or what the brain's trust at MIT think is plausible. Preaching at Christmas is akin to Lk. 2:8-12. It is the announcement of what God has done, that he has come in Christ, and that thereby his grace has abounded and overflowed to those who deserve it not.. Our task as preachers is to do simply that: proclaim the advent of the Christ. Can there be a greater privilege, a more awesome responsibility, or a greater delight?
Friday, December 9, 2011
Carl Trueman on the challenge and privilege of preaching (especially at Christmas):