Monday, July 09, 2007

Fallen Condition Focus

One of the texts that we use in the class I am teaching for Campus Crusade for Christ is Bryan Chapell's Christ-Centered Preaching. Perhaps the most helpful aspect of the book is his discussion of what he refers to as the Fallen Condition Focus, which he defines as:

"the mutual human condition that contemporary believers share with those to or about whom the text was written that requires the grace of the passage for God's people to glorify and enjoy him." (p. 50)
Surely some of you have read Chapell's text. What are your thoughts? Do you use the concept of Fallen Condition Focus to shape your preaching? Have you found it helpful?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Matt,

I have not read Chapell's book; however, the if I understand what he is saying I would agree. The falleness of both us and the original recipents makes the Scriptures applicable because we all face the same problem--sin. Moreover, the fact that we share the same eschatological plane (i.e., already-not-yet dynamic) as the NT audience makes the aposltes commands just as relevant for us today. This has one major implication in application--I don't need to create "application" because it is already given for us on how to live as a new covenant community.

I don't know if I'm hitting on what your looking for, but those are my thoughts.

Chad

Matt Harmon said...

Chad,

Yes, I think you are on mostly on target. The fallen condition is one of the primary continuities that exists between the original audience and us today.

But I should clarify that he uses fallen condition not merely in the NT, but also in the OT as well. Thus this continuity is not dependent on being in the same chapter of God's story. Granted, how a fallen condition is expressed (idolatry) is expressed may look quite different today (making idols of wealth, position, etc.) than it did in OT times (bowing down to physical images). The continuity of the fallen condition ultimately rests on the continuity of human nature.

Hope that helps clarify.

danny2 said...

matt,

i have not read the book either, but i have listened to chapell's preaching class online. it's a pretty good class and i love the emphasis on the "fcf."

i find it very helpful in getting to the cross without having to do sloppy exegesis.

JS said...

Matt, I'm assigned this book by Dr. Bickell for the fall and couldn't be happier since it's popped up more than once on the Amazon homepage as something I should "treat myself to." :) Finally, I get an excuse to add it to the cart.

I've listened to several of Dr. Chapell's online preaching class lectures via Covenant Worldwide and have found his FCF profound in my Sunday school teaching. Zeroing in on the idea that all Scripture is profitable because of our condition: we, being fallen, have room for improvement that any part of Scripture can speak to (not just matters of sin to die to, but also areas of growth, needs for counsel or comfort, etc.). This has helped my prep turn the corner from academic and well-reasoned (I hope!) to rubber-meets-the-road relevant. I'm prepping Ephesians right now in this light and I feel I've never done a stronger unit design.

FCF is not the only principle to apply or you can misuse it for the sake of pursuing a "relevance" that is not rooted in the text. But it's an excellent way, when added to the toolbox, to put a handle on the text and take it with you. The Bible is more than the Iliad.