"The Gospel at its core is the good news that God loves us and all the world. If we remember that, our preaching will be all right."
David Lose didn't start out to be a seminary professor. "I went to seminary to become a pastor," Lose says. But as he watched his professors, he began to discern a call to teach as well as to ministry. After seven years in three parish settings, that call led him to doctoral studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and, eventually, to Luther Seminary.
"This is a great time to teach preaching at Luther," says Lose, who is enthusiastic about the seminary's strategic plan on Biblical preaching. "There's a renewed sense of urgency, clarity and focus about the importance of preaching for the church."
According to Lose, the post-modern world presents opportunities for the preacher as well as challenges. "Christian faith has been on the defensive since the Enlightenment," he says. "But as we begin to reject modernity's demand for rational proof of the validity of one's beliefs, we can regain a sense of what faith really is. This is a time to reassert the importance of conviction and belief."
Lose believes that the Gospel not only shapes the content of the sermon, but that it also makes rhetorical demands on the preacher. Because the Gospel is concrete – the story of a particular person, born in a particular time and place – the preacher must also be concrete. And because the Gospel communicates both God's vulnerability and passionate commitment to the world, the preacher, too, must be both vulnerable and passionate.
Above all, preachers must remember that the Gospel is a word of grace and love. "That means we can't bully someone into accepting Christ," he says. "We must accept people where they are, proclaim the Word and put the burden of conversion on the shoulders of the Holy Spirit."
Lose wants his preaching students to keep in mind this basic truth: "The Gospel at its core is the good news that God loves us and all the world. If we remember that, our preaching will be all right."