Keller believes that the task of the preacher is driven by the goal of preaching. Keller is *really* into Jonathan Edwards, who says the task of preaching is not simply to make the truth known, but to make the truth real. Just as you can describe to someone how honey is sweet, but unless they taste the honey, the truth will never be real to them. Now for preaching, this is an interesting distinction. I typically approach the task of preaching trying to make the truth known as clearly as possible, but I leave it to the God the Spirit as to whether or not it will become real for a person. Now of course this is completely out of our control. But there’s a difference between what is essentially out of the preacher’s control and what the scope of the preacher’s task is as a co-worker with God.
If I genuinely believe that God the Spirit superintends the whole process (the preacher’s preparation, the sermon and the hearer’s reception etc..), why then do I privilege my task of delivering a clear exposition of the word, yet renounce my task of making that truth real (ie providing a sense of that truth on the heart)? Maybe its just me.
What my typical approach suggests is the Holy Spirit works mysteriously, unpredictably and ‘magically’ in applying truth to the heart, but works unmysteriously, normally and scientifically through my preparation and proclamation of a text of scripture. Why is there this kind of distinction?