Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blogging God's Promises (16)

Concluding Winter Term's teaching this week, I commented in class that one of the hardest tasks for my preaching students is to identify what the Scripture text DOES. Its much easier to read a passage and sum up what it is saying. But what is God's word doing? Affirming? Rebuking? Directing? Worshiping? ETC? In other words, is this text primarily good news or bad news? Will it promise something good, or will it warn about something bad?

This issue has dogged me while immersing in Sunday's promise: "I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18) Surely this is good news through and through? To Simon Peter, and others who succeed him, it's a golden purpose-driven (!) promise. Jesus promises to do the building. He takes responsibility. He is in charge. In control. But, wait a minute! How do these words sound to "strong leaders" ? We know how easily Peter, a strong leader if ever there was one, contradicted Jesus and corrected him, (even in this chapter, Matthew 16: 22). How do strong leaders hear these words? Jesus says: I will build my church - not you. Is it possible to take on more responsibility, to be more in charge and control than we should? What's going on here?

I am still working on it. Any help will be gratefully received.


Anonymous said...

Isn't this one of those glorious paradoxes? God raises up preacher/leaders who are filled with the Spirit and preach great sermons. The congregation grows and the community is impacted. Somewhere along the way, leaders are tempted by pride and secularism to convert all of this into a "look what I made" claim. It takes a humble leader with a right perspective on God and the workings of the Holy Spirit to resist the temptation. Building a church while walking the leadership tightrope over the chasm of pride has to be one of the most difficult and treacherous endeavors for any human.

Dea Reynolds said...

Dr. Quicke,

I loved your sermon on March 16. In fact, I have enjoyed all your sermons you've preached at Calvary. By the way, I used to live in Felixstowe, Suffolk and my father now lives in Hadleigh, Suffolk.