23 July 2001

visible and written word

N.T. Wright is among evangelicalism's leading contemporary pastor-theologians. In the introduction to his Following Jesus (Eerdmans 1994) he writes,
The visible word and the written word - or, if you like, the edible bread and the audible bread - go closely together, as they did for the two on the Emmaus road in Luke 24. Following Jesus, after all, involves heart, mind, soul, and strength. A church without sermons will soon have a shriveled mind, then a wayward heart, next an unquiet soul, and finally misdirected strength. A church without sacraments will find its strength cut off, its soul undernourished, its heart prey to conflicting emotions, and its mind engaged in increasingly irrelevant intellectual games. (xi)
For all the reasons Wright notes, I'm thankful to have been raised in a tradition that faithfully preaches the text of Scripture. But I very much hope as well that the familiarity of Wright's latter description might serve to encourage certain segments of Reformed orthodoxy to embrace a more robust sacramental piety.