We Preach Not Ourselves

We Preach Not Ourselves : Paul on Proclamation

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The apostle Paul preached Christ crucified and Christ resurrected. But these two themes provided more than just the content for Paul's preaching; they also provided the shape for how Paul viewed and practiced preaching. Paul's proclamation arose out of and modeled a cross-centered spirituality, which led to the spiritual transformation of both Paul and his hearers. It is this vision, rather than a particular method, that lies at the heart of effective, faithful, gospel-centered preaching. Michael Knowles, a homiletics professor and former pastor, holds up Paul as a model for contemporary preachers by a careful study of 2 Corinthians 1:1-6:13. This study sheds light on Paul's theology of preaching and demonstrates that while preaching, Paul indeed practiced what he preached. EXCERPT Admittedly, to approach homiletics from the perspective of Pauline spirituality is to break ranks with the predominant emphases of current scholarship in at least two regards. Recent homiletical discussion has concentrated more on questions of sermonic form than of content, and thereby appears to take the issue of spirituality more or less for granted. Conversely, studies of Paul's letters by New Testament scholars have concentrated traditionally more on the content of his proclamation than on its method (although recent publications have begun to reverse this trend). The approach taken here is to understand preaching as something more than a convenient vehicle for the promulgation of Pauline theology, and to investigate ways in which the content of that theology entails both a spiritual disposition (an orientation to the reality and activity of God) and a specific homiletical method. Along the same lines, Daniel Patte argues that faithful presentation of Paul's theology--as, indeed, of Christian faith as a whole--amounts to more than simply repeating or "translating" a series of propositional truths. Rather, it requires a conscious "imitation" of Paul's faith experience (as Paul seems to imply in 1 Cor. 11:1). Preaching, says Patte, announces "the power of God for salvation" (Rom. 1:16) that is manifest not only in the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also "in the process of preaching the message" and "in the experience of the hearers." . . . To preach on such a model requires one not to "engage" the Pauline text so much as to be engaged by the reality of Christ to which the text bears witness, in the confidence that "the text has the potential and power to disclose to the interpreter a world of its own"--the "world" of God's saving action with Christ as its center.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 22.86mm | 340.19g
  • Baker Publishing Group
  • Brazos Press, Div of Baker Publishing Group
  • Ada, MI, United States
  • English
  • 1587432110
  • 9781587432118
  • 1,267,868

Back cover copy

"We Preach Not Ourselves is really two books seamlessly woven into one rich tapestry: a theological-spiritual commentary on the first half of 2 Corinthians and a spirituality of preaching for the twenty-first century. Michael Knowles insightfully demonstrates how Paul the preacher creatively embodies, describes, and applies the life-giving cruciform pattern of Christ the Lord. Paul's counterintuitive spirituality is a needed corrective today as much as it was in first-century Corinth; every preacher should wrestle with this bold and provocative book."--Michael J. Gorman, The Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary & University"Michael Knowles has brought together homiletics and New Testament interpretation in a stimulating and delightful way. It is refreshing to read the work of one who is well trained in exegesis and criticism on the one hand, and well practiced in preaching and communication on the other. We Preach Not Ourselves makes several original and insightful observations and will be read with appreciation by New Testament interpreters and clergy alike. It is highly recommended."--Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College"Michael Knowles's incisive recovery of Paul's theology of ministry is an important, even risky, reminder of our cruciform--'Christoform'--identity in the midst of a consumer culture that constantly threatens to deform our mission and message according to its own standards for success. This is a thoroughly humiliating read for preachers, in the most transformative sense of the word."--Andre Resner, professor of homiletics and church worship, Hood Theological Seminary"Today 'successful' preachers are often those whose broad smiles and upbeat personalities radiate the optimistic belief that the faithful can expect lives stuffed with goodness and happiness. The Apostle Paul viewed preachers and preaching quite differently, and in this compelling book Michael Knowles reminds us why. The faithful preacher proclaims a crucified Savior from the context of a life and ministry touched by sorrows and acquainted with grief. The cruciform preacher may not embody happiness as society defines it, but like Paul himself, such a preacher is transparent to the Savior by whose wounds we are healed."--Scott Hoezee, The Center for Excellence in Preaching, Calvin Theological Seminaryshow more

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