Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pulpit Review: Missional

 

Tizon, Al. Missonal Preaching: Engage Embrace Transform. Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2012. 192 Pages. Paper. (Spiral-bound pre-publication galley received.) $16.99. www.judsonpress.com (P)




I don't envy Al Tizon and the task he was given to write a book on missional preaching.


Missional. What does this mean? Author Al Tizon’s Missional Preaching generally succeeds in adding some substantive theological meaning to a trendy buzzword. While I may theologically disagree with the content of half of the example sermons included, I can see how a Confessional Lutheran preacher could benefit from this book. Good preachers always proclaim the whole counsel of God and always properly distinguish between God’s Law and God’s Gospel. Tizon points out that “Biblical preaching is missional preaching” as he defines the title term: engage culture “for the sake of the gospel;” “ be different from the world” as the church; repent, grow, and do good works as God’s baptized people; reconcile with one another in Christ as He has reconciled us to Himself; responsibly steward the Lord’s resources in our care; stand up for life and “peace that surpasses all understanding;” and proclaim the unique salvation, person, and work of Christ in the midst of a pluralistic culture. Readers will be challenged to re-evaluate how they communicate the wholeness of pure Bible doctrine for the sake of their hearers, for the sake of the Missio Dei, and for Jesus’ sake.


Allow me to elaborate.


Missional. What does this mean

"Missional" is the pseudo-theological-buzzword of our day. You may remember from English class that "-al" is a suffix that "nouns" verbs or to show an "of" or "like" connection when turning a noun into an adjective. "Missional" means "related to mission."

Author Al Tizon’s Missional Preaching generally succeeds in adding some substantive theological meaning to a trendy buzzword. 

What Tizon shares in the parts of the book he contributes (the chapters) defines characteristics of good preaching (enumerated below.)

While I may theologically disagree with the content of [at least] half of the example sermons included, I can see how a Confessional Lutheran preacher could benefit from this book. 


Sadly, from my perspective, pulpits across the country have been hijacked for purposes other than preaching the person and work of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Law preaching predominates in America, even (and especially) among so-called Evangelicals. Mainline preachers tend to push for "social justice" to the near exclusion of solid Biblical content and the unique Christian message of Justification.

Good preachers always proclaim the whole counsel of God and always properly distinguish between God’s Law and God’s Gospel. 


I have discovered that good preachers sometimes properly distinguish Law and Gospel by their training. Others do so by accident. Still others see the two main messages of Scripture because of a life of experienced Bible study.


Tizon points out that “Biblical preaching is missional preaching” as he defines the title term: 
  1. engage culture “for the sake of the gospel;” 
  2. “ be different from the world” as the church;
  3. repent, grow, and do good works as God’s baptized people;
  4. reconcile with one another in Christ as He has reconciled us to Himself; 
  5. responsibly steward the Lord’s resources in our care; 
  6. stand up for life and “peace that surpasses all understanding;” 
  7. and proclaim the unique salvation, person, and work of Christ in the midst of a pluralistic culture. 
Readers will be challenged to re-evaluate how they communicate the wholeness of pure Bible doctrine for the sake of their hearers, for the sake of the Missio Dei, and for Jesus’ sake. 

There are honest and significant differences between Missouri Synod Lutherans and American Baptists in addition to those that separate denominations that don't ordain women and those that do. Expect to hear of those differences, especially in the provided sermons, including some by women. Tizon provides essentials and goals of missional preaching that I can use. 

Missional Preaching is an interesting and challenging book that will give you at least one thing to improve upon in your preaching as you engage both God's Word and the Lord's People.



Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.