Preaching at the Crossroads; How the World—and our Preaching—is Changing, by David Lose, is another book being read by my preaching group. For many of us who were raised and trained in the waning era of modernity, the skepticism of postmodernity sounds like we have lost our biblical and scholarly moorings. Lose repositions us to recognize that “our task as Christian theologians and preachers is not to prove the faith claims we make but instead to witness to the truth we perceive” (p 21). He writes of a shift from “proof to confession, witness, and testimony” (p 22). To postmodernist ears this sounds credible; to those espousing modernity and the scientific method, it sounds like heresy.
Lose names two other cultural movements (in addition to postmodernity) that define our time: secularism and its loss of the transcendence and subsequent loss of hope, and pluralism and the inability to name the distinctiveness of Christianity.
Preaching at this crossroads demands a return to confessional language, an invigorating message of hopefulness, and a clear story about what it means to be a Christian, both communally and individually. Writes Lose, “whether we succeed or fail, however, it is the Word that both commissions us and seals our hope” (p 112).