Interpretive Principles and Practices
The simple purpose of The Proclamation Trust is to train and equip a new generation of biblical preachers to do that same work, dependent on the same Spirit to use the same Word to multiply gospel growth across the land and around the world. This is carried out through two main programs. The first is an annual schedule of preaching conferences for ministers, lay preachers, and seminarians, culminating each year in June with the Evangelical Ministers Assembly at St. Helen’s, which draws together as many as nine hundred Christian workers from all over the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond. The second is a full-time study program for one academic year called the Cornhill Training Course, which concentrates on providing practical tools for biblical expository ministry.
The Hermeneutical Principles of Expository Preaching
These tools constitute the foundational hermeneutic on which exposi- tory proclamation of biblical truth can be most effectively built. They are very basic, and one might be tempted to think all too obvious, but experience has shown over the years that such principles have not been widely taught or assimilated. In the midst of the highly demanding academic agenda of the seminary, very little time can be given to the practicalities of biblical preaching. As a result, young ministers tend on the one hand to read academic essays to their congregations and simply relate their textual exegesis or, on the other, to move into an “in- spirational” mode that is basically exhortation frequently disconnected from the plain meaning of Scripture. Either way, “the hungry sheep look up and are not fed” (to borrow Milton’s formulation in his poem “Lycidas”). But there is no valid alternative plan for the nourishment of God’s flock other than for the under-shepherds to feed them with the rich pastures of God’s Word. So, how can we encourage each other to keep working at this most demanding, but also most rewarding, of ministry responsibilities?
Listening to the Biblical Text
Everything depends upon our detailed, careful, and disciplined reading of the text. Effective preaching, as Eugene Peterson has pointed out in his excellent book Working the Angles, begins with “passionate hearers, not cool analysts.” Our problem is that the skills of literary analysis we have been taught often seem to deprive us of any sense of immediacy,