Tuesday, February 21, 2017

characteristics of edwards' sermons pt 3

See parts 1 and 2 below...

It is typological preaching.  JE believed that God is a communicating Being who delights to reveal the beauty of his perfections in many ways.  He uses images from nature to adapt his teaching to us in a way that is enjoyable and pleasurable.  “Types, then, are a part of the divine aesthetic, the way in which God unites pedagogy and aesthetics.” (Theology, 122-24)  And Edwards himself confessed, “I believe that the whole universe, heaven and earth, air and seas, and the divine constitution and history of the holy Scriptures, be full of images of divine things, as full as a language is of words” (WJE, Types, Vol. 11:152).  

His sermon is rich with the beauty of springtime.  He is preaching in May, and perhaps even as he spoke people looked out the windows.  I can imagine the congregation may have especially enjoyed this pause from his more didactic sermon series on the history of redemption.  His preaching is full of metaphors and word pictures.  

We must ask ourselves: Is our preaching full of divine imagery?  Do we make use of things God created as pointers to himself?  How do you go about finding metaphors and illustrations that effectively reveal truth about God rather than merely entertain or move the emotions?  

He was preaching to the affections.  Edwards was not satisfied in just presenting the beauty of images that God gives us.  He seeks to convict the hearts of his hearers.  Who doesn’t love a beautiful sunrise after a long and cold night?  In the appendix to his application section, he asks, “Have you [been] made sensible of your own blindness?  Have you seen the glory of this light that is shined into your heart?  Has it had a transforming influence upon you?  Has it given you new life?  Do you love this light?”

We must ask ourselves: Do we preach to the hearts of our hearers? “Preaching to the heart” is difficult -- it is more than engaging the emotions, but it does address our loves, our fears, our pleasures, our hopes, etc.  How do you do this in a sermon?  Or better, how do you do this well in a sermon?

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