So far this week, we've looked at some human-centered approaches to preaching. It's time now to look at a God-centered approach.
A God-centered approach to preaching is based on two presuppositions, and two practices.
The first presupposition is that God is relevant. Ultimately, preaching is a reflection of our theology of God. If one believes that God is all-sufficient, and that all things exist in relationship to him and for his glory, then preaching will center itself on God. If one has a lesser view of God, then that preacher will speak on lesser things. John Piper says that people are starved for the greatness of God. Our preaching will reveal how strongly we agree with this presupposition.
J.I. Packer writes:
Knowing God is crucially important for the living of our lives…We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentenced yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul. (Knowing God)
The second presupposition is that Scripture is God-centered. If our preaching is biblical, a God-centered Bible should lead to God-centered preaching. This is not to say that humans are excluded; we find people on every page of Scripture. But the Bible is about God, and people in relation to him. We must resist the temptation we face every day to place ourselves at the center of the universe, especially as we approach Scripture, which is God's revelation of himself. Donald Miller writes, "The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me." We need to confront this lie every time we read Scripture.
These two presuppositions lead to two practices, which we'll cover next.