not talking about the bible, not using it, but listening

quoted from "Karl Barth's Emergency Homiletic" by Angela Hancock (pp 212-213) ...

"Sermons, Barth argued, must be tempered, shaped, qualified by God's Self-disclosure. What did this mean for these young preachers?

Negatively, Barth told them, it means that preachers do not repeat or transmit the revelation of God in the sermon. Preachers are, in all circumstances, to recognize that God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ and will reveal Godself again- as the one that is to come. Here in this space between the first and second Advents, we do not conjure up Christ, who only arrives as God's action. Therefore, preachers do not try to mediate the truth of God by trying to prove God via an intellectual demonstration, or trying to paint an aesthetic picture of Jesus before the eyes of the hearers. Nor can a preacher aspire to create the reality of God: to convert or to build up the Kingdom of God or to confront people with a decision or even to expose the existential situation of the hearer and hence place her before God. Barth knew that to reject such intentions was swimming against the current. He referred to the well-known slogans of the modern preaching movement: preachers must progress from "mere word" to "reality," from doctrine to "life"; they must be "lively"and "convey an experience".

But genuine hearing, experiencing, or awakening is something that only God can do, Barth argued. It may happen, it does happen, but not because a preacher set out with a plan, a system, a program to bring it about. If we believe that God is a living, acting God - that God is God - then there is no place for our "prophetic booming". All we can do is make an attempt, expecting God to speak. And the preaching that grows out of this expectation is an interpretation of something beyond a preacher's plans and goals and programs: Holy Scripture. Such interpretation, Barth told the students, will not set out with a theme or Skopus in hand nor approach the task with the intent to produce a certain mood or action in the hearers. Preaching that is revelation tempered is not talking about the Bible, not using it, but listening to its witness, pointing to where it points, "speaking after" it."

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