Inductive preaching has become popular in recent years in part because preachers have discovered that we no longer can expect our “audience” to simply accept what we have to say. Of course, preachers have always faced the problem of authority.
That is why we like to quote others from Barth to Craddock.
Sure, if I know Jesus is coming to visit, I’d be glad to let him take the pulpit.
I’m all for pulpit guests – but uninvited ones, I’m not so sure about them!
He is the good shepherd who is willing to lay down his life for the flock (Good Friday), but takes it up again (Easter).
Laying down his life is not forced upon him, but is a decision that he has made of his own accord, again with the intention of taking it up again.Placher goes to say that “Evil spirits never have any problem knowing who Jesus is; ‘the demons believe—and shudder” (Jas. )” (Mark (Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible), Jesus answers by telling the spirit to be silent. The scholastic method of doing theology that dominated the medieval western Catholic Church assumed this to be true.You lay out your proposition, then array the authorities pro and con, and formulate a conclusion based on those authorities. The rabbis would quote the experts so as to bolster their argument. He didn’t quote Barth and Calvin, Wesley and Pope Francis.Thus, we might want to be careful with our use of this image!This reading from John 10 falls within the Easter cycle, and the reason it was chosen for this day may have to do with the statement in verse 17, that Jesus lays down his life in order to take it up again.Fred Craddock titled one of his books on preaching As One Without Authority.It is a book that explores inductive preaching, a form of preaching that invites the hearer to enter into the story – both biblical and contemporary.So, churches are right to be careful about who gets to teach and preach.We might not be comfortable with Jesus getting up and preaching – especially if we didn’t have a sense of who he was (or is) beforehand.