from, his work in the pulpit. And Packer’s reflections on Simeon’s life paint for us not only an impressive picture of an exemplary preacher and homiletician, but a moving portrait of a life and ministry character- ized by earnestness over the long haul.
Contemporary Challenges and Aims
Expository preaching has never been easy. Indeed, as Don Carson rightly points out, challenges have confronted the pulpit in every generation. That being said, as this third section of essays recognizes, there are some distinctive challenges in the twenty-first century: multicultural- ism; rising biblical illiteracy; shifting epistemology; increasing social, cultural, and technological complexity; rapid change; and a dearth of models and mentoring.
These are some of the challenges. But if this is what preachers are up against, what should they be trying to accomplish? En route to an answer Phillip Jensen reminds us of the theological basis and rationale for preaching. In simplest terms, preaching is communicating God’s Word in human words. Or to borrow from the apostle Peter, it is speaking the very “oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). Don Carson defines it with the single, felicitous phrase: “re-revelation.” Hence, preaching is nothing less than God re-revealing himself through the exposition of his sacred Word. Quite an ennobling vision of what transpires in the pulpit! As to the aims, then, of preaching in the twenty-first century, Philip Ryken rightly points in a threefold direction: through the proclamation of the Word, expository preachers must seek the reformation of the church, the reconciliation of the world, and the glorification of God in Christ Jesus. Anything less is less than truly biblical preaching, that is, preach- ing with Scripture-informed aims and ends.
Training and Example
Who is responsible for training future preachers? When hearing this question, our thoughts tend to run toward the seminary. And not without good reason, since for over a century now, the seminary has been the primary conduit of formal ministerial training for pastors and preach- ers; and this situation is not likely to change anytime in the near future. So it is incumbent upon the church to think seriously about what sem- inary education ought to look like. To this end, Peter Jensen, dean of Moore College, Sydney, Australia, provides an incisive and sobering