Redemptive Historical Preaching Method ONLY

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by Romans922, Aug 13, 2009.

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  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    If you believe in a Redemptive-Historical ONLY method of preaching, what biblical basis would you give to support your view.

    Definition: Redemptive-Historical Preaching believes that in preaching it is not valid for the preacher to utilize the characters or the events of the Bible as examples or models for believers today.
  2. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Is there anyone who believe in it exclusively?

  3. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I believe so, since it has been discussed before.
  4. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Do I fit?

    I would say that I hold to a Redemptive-Historical approach, but I'm not sure that I recognize your definition. Now, I'm not contradicting the possibility or actuality of people out there who are doing what you say, but that's not how the concept was explained to me.

    My experience is mostly with Chappell's Christ-Centered Preaching and Johnson's Him We Proclaim, with some familiarity with the works of Greidanus, Clowney, and Goldsworthy. All of them seem to me to fit the notion of a "redemptive-historical" orientation to Scripture. As I understand, RH preaching is expository preaching that attempts to take as much account of the canonical context of a passage as it does of the narrow context. So, regarding a narrative passage, I think RH preachers would place relatively less emphasis on what the person is doing (good or bad) and more on what God was accomplishing through all the events that unfolded. This actually allows for more kinds of application than just considering the specific actions of the main characters. The best theoretical explanation of how to preach this way (that I know of) is Johnson's book.

    Now, if you're not interested in this kind of preaching, maybe you could rephrase your question something like this: "I am only interested in the branch of RH preaching that believes that in preaching it is not valid for the preacher to utilize the characters or the events of the Bible as examples or models for believers today." That way you will avoid labeling people improperly.
  5. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I resonate with a lot of what Charlie is saying. I certainly don't recognize the kind of R-H preaching you are describing, Andrew, in the best representatives of the genre. It is redemptive-historical to recognize that "these things were written down for our example" (1 Cor. 10:6). I think that RH preaching is not about ignoring the "moral lessons" we can glean from the text, but rather to filter those applications through the lens of Christ first, which filtering process may drastically alter the kind of application drawn from the text. I would phrase it maybe a tad different than Charlie does, in that I think the net application you wind up with could be either more general or more specific, after the Christological filter has been applied, just as it could be more related to the individual characters or less related.
  6. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Fair enough on the definition. I'm referring to those RHP who have a major problem with specifically applying the text to the hearer, who would rather just go to Christ and preach Christ, without preaching application or preaching the imperative. Does that make sense?
  7. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, that makes sense. However, I wouldn't even call that preaching, and neither would Phil Ryken, Derek Thomas, Ligon Duncan, Sinclair Ferguson, Dennis Johnson, Ed Clowney, or a host of other RH luminaries.
  8. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Andrew has not gone off the reservation with his OP. I know of, and have sat under, the preaching of several Reformed and Presbyterian ministers who both a) refuse to preach OT narratives in an "exemplary" manner, describing that as sheer moralism, and who also b) refused to include any application in their sermons for fear of "transgressing the work of the Holy Spirit".

    It is preaching that leads to antinomianism and arrogance among many in the congregation, because they are never being challenged by the Scriptures, never learning how to apply doctrine to life, and who never hear anything at the close of a sermon but the ubiquitous call to "look to Jesus".

    The best RH preachers, as Lane pointed out, include both a Christocentric model of preaching as well as application from that. Unfortunately, there are more styles (aberrations?) of RH preaching than what you would get from men such as Clowney, Johnson, et al.
  9. Bookmeister

    Bookmeister Puritan Board Freshman

    I would agree with everyone else voicing their opinion here. I started one of the RH threads not too long ago and have been called out by more than one person here at RTS for my stance. I think the biggest problem here in the south with those who take a stand against RH is they flat misunderstand it. There is a small, vocal band of RHers that get pointed to as what RH is when they are really a divergent/extreme group. I would love for more people to understand true RH preaching and find that it does NOT ignore application and if preached properly is true, Christ-centered preaching at its finest.
  10. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    If I understand him correctly, Chapell, who is considered RH, would argue that a sermon without application is not a sermon at all. This would fly in the face of the definition of RH in the OP. However, no doubt there are all kinds of different preachers out there...
  11. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Yes; CPJ 5 has article on this subject; subscribe now!:) We should be going to press in September some time as things look right now for an October release. Subscriptions/Store | The Confessional Presbyterian
    An Answer to the Challenge of Preaching the Old Testament: An Historical and Theological Examination of the Redemptive-Historical Approach by Rev. Anthony T. Selvaggio, J.D., M. Div.
  12. Rogerant

    Rogerant Puritan Board Freshman

    A distinction between Historical Redemptive and Christo-Centric should be made. They are two different methods.

    We don't go to the historical accounts of the O.T. books to teach application or refer to the O.T. saints to preach in the imperative. The historical accounts in the O.T. all point to the coming messiah and His future work of redemption.

    We glean application through the ministerial work of Christ (or His active obedience, the fulfillment of loving the Lord with all of His heart and loving His neighbor) during His life on earth.

    And then the "therefore"! We preach in the imperative to live a life as did Christ, out of gratitude.

    The Law is given, then the Gospel is proclaimed, then the "therefore", move to the imperative and exhort the congregation.

    That is the pattern of all of Paul's letters. Guilt, Grace then Gratitude. That should be the pattern of the liturgy and the sermon.

    Historical Redemptive preaching should also follow this pattern. How all of Israel has failed, including the O.T. hero's of the faith. How Christ has redeemed us, and then the therefore, how we now as Christians live a live out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us.
  13. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    What do you mean by 'we'? Are you speaking for the RH side or the Christ-Centered side?
  14. Rogerant

    Rogerant Puritan Board Freshman

    The RH side.
  15. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor


    If what you are proposing there is your view of RH preaching, THIS IS WHAT I'M Talking about.

    Doing the following: "We don't go to the historical accounts of the O.T. books to teach application or refer to the O.T. saints to preach in the imperative." THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE. RIGHT THERE.

    Now can someone who has this view, please give me Scriptural Warrant for this position?
  16. Rogerant

    Rogerant Puritan Board Freshman

    I will support my method tomorrow when I am not at work. :chained:
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    This was a big issue in the SoCal of the OPC in the 2000-2002 timeframe with Lee Irons representing probably the most strident version of those who take significant exceptions to WCF XIX and associated standards concerning the Law.

    Ironically, I've been listening to some Frame lectures where he mentions, in passing, that there are BT advocates who don't believe we should go to any Biblical characters for their moral examples. I think a balanced RH advocate would probably note that we can look to some of these characters but eschew primarily those uses of the characters where only David's specific actions are singled out to imitate outside of any context of faith in the Promise, etc.

    That said, years ago I had a minister over at my house who was lamenting some who insist that the only way to approach the Scriptures is to preach what Christ has done and never to give any application. I don't hear that much here, though I know of those who preach and advocate such. I don't find any warrant in Scripture for that. I consider myself Redemptive-Historical in the sense that Christ and His work are seen in shadows or their fulfillment throughout the Word but those indicatives always are the basis for imperatives that form the corpus for our spiritual development and obedience on the basis of what God has done. Even the Decalogue opens with an indicative.
  18. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    What was the primary method of preaching before RH style of preaching as it is known today?

    For example, what style of preaching did the Reformers and Puritans preached?
  19. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Applicatory/Experimental Calvinism preaching.

    You can read about it in books such as:

    Imperative of Preaching: A Theology of Sacred Rhetoric
    Preaching With Purpose
    Truth Applied
    Preaching With Spiritual Vigour
    Preaching Pure and Simple
    The Art of Prophesying
    The Relevance of Preaching
    An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times
  20. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    Who came up with RH preaching as it is known today?
  21. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    The Dutch I believe. I'd invite you to look at the state of their church now...
  22. Bookmeister

    Bookmeister Puritan Board Freshman

    I have looked at the state of the Dutch church and find nothing wrong with it, that is if you look at the URCNA. The CRC certainly is in a mess, my wife and I left there a year and a half ago, but that has nothing to do with RH preaching, that has long since passed away in that denomination. What passes for preaching today is nothing more than moralistic pablum. The real nail in the CRC coffin was the departure of all the faithful, conservatives to the URCNA.
  23. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    We have differing views on the Dutch church.

    I'm against moralistic preaching and only Redemptive Historical Preaching, shouldn't we preach application of every text?

    Are we not puritans here?
  24. dannyhyde

    dannyhyde Puritan Board Sophomore

    This is just an ignorant statement. If you want to grind an axe you'd better make sure you've sharpened it first.

    First of all, the decline in the Hervormde Kerk (now PKN) far, far pre-dates any developments in the redemptive-historical school of preaching in the Netherlands.

    Secondly, I could just as easily say, "Look at the state of the Scottish Presbyterian or American Presbyterian church today" and say it is all the result of experimental preaching. Is the Church of Scotland or the PCUSA any different than the Protestantse Kerk in Nederland (PKN)? It goes to show that the theological and spiritual decline was about other factors.

    Don't mistake me for some hyper-BT/RH preacher in saying this. Although I was trained by Clowney and Bergsma at WSC, I seek to follow the method of Perkins (the "plain style" of preaching with doctrines and uses) who also wants to clearly lay before people Jesus Christ from every text of Scripture so that they will repent and believe.
  25. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Yes it was an ignorant statement of which I apologize.

    But in fun, you couldn't combine the two thoughts 'experiental preaching' and the downfall of Presbyterianism because Scottish Presbyterianism and American Presbyterianism (especially American) today do not have as their 'method' experimental preaching. Most today are "moralistic preaching" and "Redemptive-Historical". This is just saying, I know this is not your point. I agree with Perkins :) But at the same time it doesn't mean you don't tell people how to live (in Christ).
  26. Bookmeister

    Bookmeister Puritan Board Freshman

    YES! You seem to be focusing on a narrow, very narrow, view of some RH preachers that deny application. The vast majority of RH preachers do not deny application.
  27. Bookmeister

    Bookmeister Puritan Board Freshman

    I understand that, I do believe in the Redemptive Historical method only, I am trying to point out that RH by nature does not exclude application.
  28. ChariotsofFire

    ChariotsofFire Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm a little confused. :confused: Is hyper-BT preaching simply Redemptive Historical preaching without the application? Or is RH in its pure form not supposed to have application?

    My impression is that the RH method is a good thing as it points us to Christ. I also don't understand how a sermon can even be a sermon without any application. How can the Holy Spirit work if the pastor does not challenge the hearts of believers?

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  29. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior


    You have touched on a key passage for this subject, and one regarding which I have yet to hear an advocate of non-applicatory RH preaching explain with any coherence.
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