Is it possible to talk about the Sanctuary without 1844?

Yesterday I wrote a post that was still not able to be heard by many. Some saw it as an attack against the Sanctuary. Others saw it as a defense of the use of 1844 in ministry.

I think what is interesting is the inability to even conceive of a Sanctuary message without calculation of 1844. Can we discuss the implications of the sanctuary message without speaking of 1844? Can we speak of what the lamb of God means today? That is sanctuary imagery. Can we speak of what it means for Christ to be a high priest without even dealing with the Sanctuary? Some kind of way we must contemporize this symbol, can you do it without referring to the Sanctuary message of the Bible?

I am beginning to come to the conclusion that it is not possible to even say Sanctuary message without mathmatical calculations popping into our minds. Whatever ones view of the calculation of 1844, we must recognize that this is not the sum total of the Sancutary message.

Preaching With Power – Dr. Benjamin Reaves

Preaching With PowerWe are nearing the end of our conversation with Dr. Clifford Jones’ book Preaching with Power. In this post we will look at the chapter that contains the interview with Dr. Benjamin Reaves. Dr. Reaves taught homiletics at Oakwood College as a professor. He also was the chair of Religion and Theology department, as well as President during his tenure at Oakwood College. He is currently a vice president of Adventist Health Systems.

Understanding of Preaching

Dr. Reaves sees preaching as “communicating biblical truth from God, by God’s power, for God’s saving purpose. The objective of preaching is to motivate people to accept God’s will and plan for their lives. The sermon is the vehicle to communicate biblical truth.”

Here Dr. Reaves sees the importance of preaching Biblical truth, but with purpose. The purpose is to motivate people to accept God’s will and plan. The sermon is not only useful information but it also utilizes the Bible to energize God’s people for action based on God’s plan.

Method of Sermon Preparation

Because Dr. Reaves is now in “itinerant ministry” he considers the occasion, needs of the people, current events, as well as the preacher’s own need in the determination of what to preach. When he was in parish ministry he used the aspects of ministry to come up with a preaching calendar.

This discussion of determination of what to preach for itinerant preachers is valuable. I like Dr. Reaves’ approach especially his recognition that even the preacher’s needs can shape the pastoral approach.

Dr. Reaves’ next step is to prepare the preacher. This is something that is done all of the time. The preacher is not one that simply comes up with a sermon, but should always be in contact with the divine.

Design for PreachingDr. Reaves’ “actual” preparation consists of asking several questions that H. Grady Davis introduced. Among other things, Dr. Reaves asks, what does the passage say? He quickly adds that this investigation is completed independent of any bible commentary. Dr. Reaves reads the passage several times in many different translations. Each time he applys the questions that in Davis’ work. Dr. Reaves then moves to exegetical commentaries and finally Dr. Reaves creates a homiletical outline.

Dr. Reaves is a manuscript preacher. There is argument over whether use of the mansucript is a hinderance to effective preaching. In an upcoming podcast you will hear Dr. Derek Morris present that he believes it is important. Dr. Reaves emphasizes that the issue is not whether you use notes or you do not use them, but that you are effective in your use of the manuscript. Dr. Reaves notes that Charles Adams (the Harvard Whooper) is a master of manuscript preaching.

It is interesting how Dr. Reaves and Dr. Morris both love to preach narrative sermons while one uses the manuscript and the other preaches without notes. One thign is certain, great preaching does not require either a mansuscript or a lack thereof. Currently, however, I tend to agree with Dr. Morris that leaving the notes behind can open up avenues for a greater connection to the people. By no means does this mean that Dr. Reaves is not effective. Dr. Reaves is one of the most effective preachers that I have heard. I would encourage all to see the number of sermons that are available for Dr. Reaves on the internet. My site provides many links.

Understanding of Black Preaching

Dr. Reaves rightly notes that Black preaching is not a monolithic ideal nor is it a merely a style of preaching. At the heart of Black preaching is a world view that believes that God is a liberator who will make all things right. Reaves rightly notes that we must not fall into the trap of thinking that if there is no celebration there is no Black preaching.

The Heart of Black PreachingDr. Reaves seems to believe that the Black Preachers uniqueness comes from theology. Black preaching is not necessarily in volume or style, but in a perspective that sees God on the side of the poor and the oppressed working for their good. This is in line with Dr. Cleophas LaRue’s beleif that Black Preachers approach the text with

two fundamental questions in mind with respect to the creation of their sermon: (1) How do I demonstrate to God’s people this day through the proclamation of the Word the mighty and gracious acts of God on their behalf? and (2) How best shall I join together scripture and their life situations in order to address their plight in a meaningful and practical manner?Heart of Black Preaching, 19

I think it cheapens Black Preaching to reduce it to Whooping or yelling or noise. As Dr. Reaves notes if we follow such understandings then Howard Thurman would not be considered a Black Preacher.

Lest I be misunderstood, I do not wish to minimize or eliminate the enthusiastic proclamation of the Word that sometimes demonstrates itself in raise voice and yes even Whooping. But my only point is that the absense of this characteristic component does not mean that Black preaching has not taken place.

Understanding of Adventist Preaching

Dr. Reaves believes that one can be both authentically black and also teach Adventist doctrines. He notes that :

The choice is not between preaching Adventist doctrines and being authentically black in your preaching, but rather having a real sense of one’s self, and a real sense of the meaning of the gospel as it is interpreted through the Adventist tradition.

Dr. Reaves beleives that the “deliverance” aspect that is in black preaching is integral to the Adventist message. He concludes by saying, “We as Adventist preachers need to do…a better job of preaching the liberating aspects of our doctrines.”

I have saught to do some of this in the Sabbath work that you see on this blog, let us move forward in making the doctrines relevant by looking at them with an eye for what delivers God’s people and the world from the demonic.

Peacemaking Remnant – A People of Prophecy

The Peacemaking RemnantIn the Peacemaking Remnant, Zdravko Plantak pushes the church to have a more comprehensive view of what it means to be a prophetic people by seeking a clearer picture of the prophetic role in the Bible. In the chapter Plantak identifies four essential elements of the prophetic teachings. First the messages of the prophets “are a matter of life and death.” The second element is God’s care for the weak in the society. The third element is that “God seeks justice and obvedience rather than formal worship or scrifice.” The fourth element is that the message is “of eschatological-apocalyptic character.”

Plantak notes that often our understanding of being a prophetic movement means that we are often either “preoccupied with making predictions” and/or “a movement with a special interest in studying and interpreting predictive prophecy.” In contrast, Plantak agrees with Jack Provonsha in noting that we should “think of ourselves as a people with a [prophetic] mission to the world”

Will we be prophetic in the world is the question. Will we look at the whole prophetic utterance and not just Daniel and Revelation? If we do this then we will have to ask questions about God’s stated care for the poor and the oppressed? What does that mean for a prophetic church? We will have to ask questions of ourself, Do we as a church demonstrate the principles of the prophets in the life of our church? ?Let us move on to being a prophetic movement in the world demosntrating the Kingdom of God within itself.