In October 2021 the faculty of the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary presented a conference on the doctrine of preaching. That the conference treated the doctrine of preaching means that it did not touch on matters of style and delivery, but rather on the nature and content of the preaching, as set forth in Scripture and the Reformed confessions. The four main articles in this issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal contain the written version of those speeches.
The first article underscores that the preaching of the gospel, by one who is properly called to that work, is the voice and work of our exalted Lord Jesus Christ, through which He works faith and all graces in His people. Because Christ works through the preaching, it is powerful, to declare both God’s judgment on sinners and His salvation of His people. Preachers and hearers alike will realize that a right understanding of the preaching’s nature and power affects how they preach and listen.
In the second article, Prof. Brian Huizinga graphically sets forth that which must be the point of all preaching. Every sermon must display the glory of the Triune God, and every sermon must bring the hearer to see the sufficiency of the person and work of Jesus Christ as our only Savior from sin. As a professor of seminarians, his word to the seminarians and all preachers is, “Get to the point!”
Prof. Ronald Cammenga begins his article by drawing attention to the difference between indicatives and imperatives, and later indicates that the proper conjunction must be used to state properly the relation between an indicative and an imperative. This makes all the difference in how one preaches the commands of the gospel. That commands must be preached cannot be questioned; the Scriptures contain numerous commands. But how the commands (imperatives) of the gospel are related to the facts (indicatives) of the gospel can be the difference between the true gospel of sovereign grace and the false gospel of man’s works.
Finally, Prof. Barrett Gritters emphasizes the importance–no, the absolute necessity–of the preacher applying the gospel. Application, he teaches us, is not a matter of adding imperatives to a sermon, or of showing how we must live. Application is more basic than that: it is speaking the word of the text to the heart of God’s people. As a sermon without the gospel is no sermon, so a sermon without application is no sermon.
This issue features ten book reviews. A special thanks to those who contributed to them. As I take up the editorship of this journal, I pray that God will continue to use it as a good witness of His sovereign grace, of the commitment of the Protestant Reformed Churches to orthodoxy in teaching and orthopraxy in life, and of the fruits of the labors of the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary. Our printer again informs us that it cannot produce the printed version of this journal as quickly as it once could, due to lasting effects of COVID on the printing industry. We trust that the contents of this issue will make the wait worthwhile.