Spirit Empowered Preaching
Azurdia, A
Azurdia argues, in the vein of Lloyd-Jones and others, that while serious and diligent exegesis is essential for preaching, it is not enough. The hard exegetical work will provide us with material, but we still need power- power from on high. Indeed, Azurdia states, ‘It is my deep conviction that the greatest deficiency in contemporary expositional ministry is powerlessness; in other words, preaching that is devoid of the vitality of the Holy Spirit.' He argues clearly that if we take seriously the effects of sin on humanity we are forced to the point of absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit to make any preaching effective.

Azurdia makes the fine point that the powerlessness of evangelical churches is evident from the various other things to which so many have turned for ‘attractive power,’ things which may have value in themselves but are not the goal of the church. He mentions specifically pop-psychology, marketing techniques and political activism. Concerning the ability of marketing techniques to draw a crowd, for instance, he writes:

‘they have erroneously confused the presence of physical bodies with the existence of spiritual life. In reality, many of these ‘seekers’ have not come to flee the wrath of God. They have not come to take up the cross of Jesus Christ. Instead, they have come to add a layer of frosting to their lives’

Azurdia argues from the Scripture that God has shown that His intention is to work through the preaching of the Word. Then, he argues that the role of the Spirit is to glorify Christ and that the whole of the Scriptures are to be interpreted Christologically. This book can be of much profit here for many who were not taught to read the Scriptures as Jesus and the apostles did (Luke 24:27). Azurdia handles the topic well not condoning sloppy interpretation but interpretation which places every text into its place within the flow of redemptive history . If we expect the Spirit’s power, he argues, we must use His means (preaching) and His method (Christ-centered interpretation).

Finally, if we would know the power of the Spirit in our preaching we must begin with an awareness of our abject need of Him. ‘A major step toward experiencing the power of God necessitates a thorough-going recognition of our lack of it’ (143). Such awareness will drive us to careful study and fervent prayer. The author searchingly notes, ‘Rarely are seminarians taught to pray and fast and weep for the subjective and internal illumination of the Holy Spirit in correspondence with their diligent efforts in the sacred text’ (39). Azurdia also focuses on the church’s role in supporting the preacher with prayer and by maintaining an environment eager to receive and to submit to the word of God.

ISBN: 9781857924138
Catalogue code: N/A
Publisher: CHRISTIAN FOCUS - published 15/03/2000
Format: Paperback