I was recently talking with a friend of mine at the end of one of our weekly Koine Greek classes. We had been assigned the task of choosing a verse or short group of verses to translate and exegete. My friend was having difficulty picking one text as he kept going back and forth between "soap box" texts that he frequents in conversation. In exasperation he leaned back in his chair, shook his head and exclaimed, "I'm a guy who really needs the pericope." When I inquired as to why he said, "Well, it keeps me from sticking with what I know and forces me to keep on learning. That way it's not continual topical preaching of my choosing."
I considered that and thought of how the pericope probably helps many Lutheran (and other) congregations by the use of a set one year or three year set of texts. It's comforting to know that my pastor isn't going to camp out on a favorite set of verses or just hopscotch blindly throughout the bible, assembling verses to his own purposes. He has to take the Bible for what it is.
Then I thought of how today's Evangelical Christian world could be affected. How would the teaching by guys like Joel Osteen and his contempories be affected? How would that impacted their congregations? Now combine the use of the pericope with Law and Gospel preaching. I think we'd see a huge change. The following is a list of thoughts from my layman's perspective on this.
Benefits of following the pericope texts?
1. The Bible would have to be used. (No vearing into "spiritual, inspirational motivational preaching" where the Word is not being taught)
2. The sake of order. Churches would be teaching on the same texts at the same time.
3. Topical preaching would be the exception, not the norm. (I know, sometimes topical preaching is necessary)
4. Congregations would be exposed in a broader sense to the Bible
5. Sermons would provide conviction of the Law and forgiveness from the Gospel
6. Justification and Sanctification would point back to Jesus
7. Sermons wouldn't be 5 step "How To..." sermons but would point back to Christ
There are probably many others. This is just a short list I've come up with in several minutes. If you've got other suggestions on how use of the pericope with Law/Gospel preaching would benefit the Evangelical Christian world, I would highly encourage you to comment on this posting.
Soli Deo Gloria