Koessler on Inflection

Dr. John Koessler, chair and professor of pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institutestarted blogging last month. You should add him to your feed reader. John was a professor of mine back in college, and one that I really benefitted from. How can you not appreciate a professor who is willing to tell you you’re thinking more like a deist than a Christian. I am happy to now count John as a friend. Last week he blogged on the preacher’s task of “inflection,” or preaching the text to a new/different audience than its original. He focused on preacher’s responsibility to be faithful to the text (Scripture) and his own context (the audience). It’s a good word. We’ve all listened to preaching that amounts to little more than a descriptive commentary of what happened without pressing into the lives of the hearers (more faithful to text, but forgetful of context). And you’ve probably heard sermons that use Scripture as nothing more than a footnote to the preacher’s message (more faithful to context, forgetful of text). On the latter problem John says,

A sermon which focuses only on the concerns of the contemporary audience and pays no attention to the historical and literary context of Scripture also removes the biblical text from its living voice. Such preaching co-opts the text instead of inflecting it, turning the living and active word into a ventriloquist’s dummy, a caricature whose hollow voice merely echoes the preacher’s own.

Be sure to check out Dr. Koessler’s blog, A Stranger in the House of God.