Sunday, May 15, 2005

Whither Expository Preaching?

In Content & Context: The Books & Culture Weblog Nathan Bierma writes the following:

Someone asked me recently why my wife and I switched churches. "We prefer sermons, not personal essays," I replied. Of course, personalizing potentially rote lectures is essential to good preaching. But over-personalizing is plaguing preaching today, writes Alastair Begg in Preaching for God's Glory. Begg spoke last month at a conference at Covenant Seminary called "Salt in Our Preaching: Back To Basics," and his book was excerpted recently at byFaith Online.

Begg has three basic explanations for the disappearance of expository preaching (and since I was raised on three-point sermons, this approach works for me). First, the church is losing confidence in Scripture; chalk it up to postmodernism and Baby Boomer's distrust of authority. Second, preachers are placing the political allegiances and psychological needs of their congregation ahead of theology. Third, there are few role models for good expository preaching.

My wife and I were schooled on the systematic sermons of the Reformed tradition, so we know the opposite problem Begg identifies: preaching that is "lifeless" and "thoroughly boring." "I never cease to be amazed," Begg says, "by the ingenuity of those who are capable of taking the powerful, life-changing text of Scripture and communicating it with all the passion of someone reading aloud from the Yellow Pages!"

But somewhere between the Yellow Pages and Dr. Phil-type pep talks lies the kind of preaching Gustaf Wingren speaks of, as Begg quotes him: "The passage itself is the voice, the speech of God; the preacher is the mouth and the lips, and the congregation . . . the ear in which the voice sounds." Begg's essay inspires and worshipers to seek this kind of harmony.


Sadd Family said...

Thanks for this... Right on... I love you. Stay Faithful.

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