The question “What is preaching?” was the subject of a popular panel at Samford University’s booth in the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting exhibit hall. The panel featured Beeson Divinity School professors Robert Smith Jr. and Mike Pasquarello and was moderated by Grant Taylor, associate dean for academic affairs at Beeson.
Referencing Paul’s charge to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4 to “preach the word,” Taylor opened up the discussion to answer the fundamental question.
“Preaching is a great, great task and an honor for preachers to participate in it,” said Pasquarello, Methodist Chair of Divinity and director of the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute at Beeson. “It announces, it proclaims, it declares to the world who God is and what God has done in Jesus Christ.”
“There is a mysterious element when it comes to preaching,” added Smith, who holds the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson where he teaches Christian preaching. “God takes our alphabet based upon His word and turns the Word into life and transformation.”
“What we’re trying to do at Beeson is to raise up living witnesses to the Word, lovers of the Word and those who speak the Word with conviction,” said Pasquarello.
Smith and Pasquarello compared Beeson’s emphasis on the Word and preaching to different foods.
“I love spaghetti and meatballs” but especially the meatballs, Smith said. “Beeson is intentional about serving meatballs, the text. Nonnegotiable. … I hope Beeson will always be known for its insistence on the text being central. Let the methods, let the models, let those things be optional. But not the text.”
“It’s meat and potatoes,” Pasquarello said. “It’s nourishing and people who are starving need it.”
The goal of Beeson’s Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, the professors said, is to teach preaching and to teach pastors, strengthening the pastor as a whole person.
“I want to equip my people, who I preach to, to be able to define what preaching is, to be able to do it in their own language and in their own style,” Smith said.
The full video of this and other Samford panels is available online at www.samford.edu/news/2019/Samford-at-the-2019-SBC-Convention. (Hannah Muñoz)
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