Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery is a contributor to the new book Shouting Above the Noisy Crowd: Biblical Wisdom and the Urgency of Preaching, a collection of essays from leaders in the field of homiletics offering wisdom on the art of preaching.
In his chapter on “Is Preaching Political?”, Dean Powery explains how preaching is inescapably political because of its theological foundation.
“The incarnation of God in Jesus was God’s political act or political sermon in that God entered the sphere of public human affairs,” he writes. God passes over the powerful leaders of Jesus’s time in order reveal himself in a baby born on the margins of the Roman empire. “Rooted in this understanding of the incarnation of God in Christ, one can say that not only is Jesus the Word of God political but the gospel he preaches in word and deed is a political act as well.”
“Jesus’s politics are aligned with the marginalized—the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed,” he says.
Powery offers some nuances about how preaching is political.
“To be political does not mean to politicize,” he writes. “By the latter, I mean an explicit emphasis on particular political parties and politicians.”
“Preachers of the gospel are called to proclaim against the principalities and power at work in our world, and not necessarily people,” he says.
Shouting Above the Noisy Crowd is published in honor of Alyce M. McKenzie, the Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology.
Read an online excerpt of the essay.