Someone recently commented on my blogpost where I noted that Tim Keller had preached a message on social justice almost entirely from Proverbs. This comment questioned, at least to some degree, my view of and commitment to the OT as God's word for people today, and commented on the "jaw dropping" response that "many" have to fundamentalists dispensationalists.
It leads me to make a couple of comments.
1. I like Tim Keller for the most part. I have listened to him preach a number of times and I enjoyed it, was challenged by it, and learned from it. He has a great way of putting things in memorable fashion. The best part is that these are things that should be remembered.
2. I like the OT and think we should preach more from it without moralizing or spiritualizing. Too much preaching from the OT becomes "Hans Christian Anderson of old," rather than an authoritative message about who God is, what he is like, and what he was doing in the lives of ancient people to bring about his eternal plan.
3. My point in that particular comment (which was merely illustrative rather than foundational) is that I don't think that Proverbs was intended to teach a theology of social justice for the church. I have preached from Proverbs, and some still tell me that was the best preaching I have ever done. My point was that authorial intent is important, and the nature of Proverbs also plays a role (general, pithy truths rather than pronouncements of inviolable truths).
In sum, I think the text should be preached for what it was intended to communicate. There may be a primary intention as well as secondary intentions, but only the intent of the passage should be preached.
In other words, we should say only from a text what God would say from a text.
And I am not convinced that God would comment on social justice in the church from the book of Proverbs.