THE PREACHER’S R.E.D.
By Domenic Marbaniang
(delivered at New Life College Chapel, Bangalore – June 17, 2009)
"Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." (1 Tim. 4:13)
The three-fold command can be put into the acrostic RED:
– DoctrineThis epistle is addressed to Timothy a pastor, representative, overseer, appointed over the church atEphesus. Ephesus, one of the biggest cities of Roman Asia, was the host of the Temple of Artemis of Diana, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. The city was an economical hub and home to a varietyof cultures, including a large community of Jews. Paul visited this city and ministered in it during his 3rdmissionary journey with the effect that the whole of Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus.Timothy, here, is a young, and possibly a rather reserved, shy, and timid boy. Paul exhorts him withmany words to be strong in the ministry. It’s very obvious that a young man would be easily despised;but Paul both encourages and appoints Timothy for an important job.This exhortation relates to the important ministry of God’s Word. We’ll have to look at RED as oneinstead of treating each into compartments.
1. The Knitting of the Narrative and the Propositional Aspects of Preaching.
Reading, Exhortation, Doctrine (propositional truths).In the past few decades, there has been a growing emphasis on the “narrative” above the“propositional”. This is especially among the post-liberals, also known as the Emergent Church group,and is a reaction against what they considered to be the inadequacy of modernism to deal with theissues of the post-modern culture.The post-modern “narrative turn” of this movement heralded the idea that Christian theology shouldfocus on a narrative representation of the faith rather than the development of a metaphysical systemor set of propositions deduced from the data of revelation. It was a move against the systematicrepresentation of faith in logical form.The issues raised were: The Bible is not a book of doctrine or propositions. It is simply a compilation of experiences, narratives of God’s relationship with people. Religious truth is something that is related toone’s context and not overarching.But the fact is that the Bible contains both; e.g. much of Psalms, proverbs, Law, Epistles won’t fit into thenarrative framework. Narrative preaching may not just be about telling stories; but mere narrativepreaching can be dangerous when the story is used as either a point or proof for some point. The style is