A Narrative Approach: Will it Preach?

I have a number of concerns with narrative preaching. First, it does not emanate from those churches, seminaries, and theologians that hold to the doctrine of inerrancy and have a high view of preaching and teaching. It tends to emanate from the more liberal and mainline churches with a low view of the Bible and of Jesus.

Second, the call for narrative preaching can indicate a move away from propositional truth in favor of relativism and perspectivism, as if transformation were possible without information.

The trend today is away from propositional truth: “We don’t need propositional truth. We need narrative truth and embodied truth.” Actually, if we’re going to be multi-perspectival, we need all of it.

Propositional truth tells me who God is, who I am, why I’m here, how I’ve fallen short, who Jesus is, and what he has done. I can’t have a good Christology with a finger painting. You need to tell me something. Someone might say, “I’ve read Wittgenstein, and he said that there are limits to language and words.” I understand that. But God has chosen to speak through his Word and the same Holy Spirit that inspired the words to be written illuminates the understanding of the children of God. We’re not stuck in the cul-de-sac of Wittgenstein. The Holy Spirit is the great variable that makes the Word of God known to the people of God. We believe in the miraculous. We’re not just a natural people relying on the three-pound, fallen brain to make revelation clear. We also have God who loves us. And like John Calvin said, God is willing to stoop down and speak baby-talk, so that we would understand who he is and what he’s trying to say.
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