PREACHING: Why Johnny Can’t (1st post)

Well, I just finished listening to last week’s WHI program featuring T. David Gordon and his book Why Johnny Can’t Preach.  It makes for an interesting conversation between Horton and Gordon.  One will hear Gordon in his prime.

I for one appreciate T. David Gordon, particularly for his labors in teaching the structural (covenantal) framework of all Scripture as it centers on the Gospel (person and work of Christ).  In addition, his ability to keep this (the Gospel) distinct from God’s working within the church (you and I), all the while helping us understand the relationship between the two – the Gospel and our growing in Christ. 

As an aside, a word about those who incessantly desire to make the Gospel to include what God does “in” us along with what the Gospel is…the personal and particular work of the God-Man.  This is what some would call the “Gospel in the broader sense”.  Well, I for one do not buy it.  Sorry, but it is true.  In their claiming that the Gospel incorporates our lives in this way, they end up with an existential baseline (usually themselves) upon which we are to place our hopes, rather than solely in Christ himself.  It is a very subtle shift, but a shift away from the Gospel nonetheless.

The folks over at Creed or Chaos hit this on the head: “We take from the gospel whenever we add to it, therefore, let us be satisfied with its overflowing fullness.”

Now, back to our program…at the WHI.

In following this conversation by T. David Gordon around the Internet (and in the book), it seems that his writing as a dying man did not make for the best context in which to write this kind of book.  There is much one can appreciate about the book, surely.  However, I fear that David’s natural tendency to be inflammatory and his preoccupation with his occupation (academician) both end up distracting us from the real fault as to why most sermons one will hear are sub-standard.  His being on what appeared then to be a ‘death-bed’ seems to have made it all the easier for David to “let loose” at what has long nagged at him, but ends up somewhat wide of the mark of what has always turned the church to preaching everything but Christ. 

In the next post, I intend to share thoughts gathered from this program.  Let me just conclude here by saying that Gordon’s remarks have an entirely different air about them as opposed to John Piper’s or Ken Jones’:  BROTHERS, WE ARE NOT PROFESSIONALS! 

Ken Jones’ message here: The Joy of Preaching the Gospel of God

Though some of what Ken Jones says coincides with T. David Gordon, I believe Gordon places too much hope in being literarily astute, rather than in the literal Gospel

Stay tuned, more to come……


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