Not long after my last post, I started listening to the recording of a session that N.T. Wright did on preaching in Toronto last month. Someone asked him what he thought about preaching on themes that aren’t central to the text – for instance, using the story of Eli as an example of a bad parent, or Ruth on courtship principles. (The questioner joked that he used Ruth this way until he got to the part about the night on the threshing floor.)
Wright didn’t seem to rule this out, so I guess you could say that he disagrees with me. I think he would say it’s not the best use of the text, and it certainly doesn’t lead us into understanding the story that we’re a part of in quite the same way. In other words, it’s not the best way to preach but it can be done.
So N.T. thinks it’s okay to keep some of the sermons I think we need to throw out. And he’s a lot smarter than me. So there.