Sunday, July 04, 2010

Expository preaching

Awhile back I quoted Mike McInnis writing, "The whole concept of 'preaching' as necessarily involving taking a particular text and then developing it for a half hour or more is more a learned activity than one which is directed by NT example." Several of you disagreed with Mike and me, though not strenuously.

Now here is a quote in the opposite direction from Noah Lee: "It is my conviction that all sermons should be expository sermons in order to be faithful to the Word of God. When a preacher chooses to preach on a topic or a theme, he runs the risk of injecting his personal opinions or agendas into the sermon and neglecting the main idea of the Biblical text. Every expository sermon follows the same format: the text is read, the text is explained, and the text is applied."

I generally agree with Brother McInnis. I specifically deny that "all sermons should be expository sermons in order to be faithful to the Word of God." What do you think, readers? Should all sermons be expository sermons? If so, based on what reasoning? If not, why not?

[Note: Bro. Lee explains expository preaching as "the method of studying a particular passage of Scripture, discovering the main point or big idea of that passage, explaining that point to the church and making points of application from that passage's big idea."]


jim1927 said...

I really don't care what label is applied to preaching style. Exposition of a text is mandatory, whether we use it topically or verse by verse exposition.

We want to attract attention to the message God has placed on our hearts for that particular service.

I preached to a group of veterans on one occasion. My starting point was a poem, totally unrelated to scripture, titled "Jenny Kissed Me." This led to my talking about my first kiss and led to my prime text: "Remember me..." and the importance of remembrance. It was totally relevant to veterans of WW II. I had their attention and led their minds to think of God.

Always expository preaching? I don't think so.



RCope said...

Hey Bro. Vaughan,

I am a strong proponent of expository preaching. I do not, however, believe that a sermon has to follow the expository model in order to preach truth. I was saved and taught much of what I know under textual and subject preaching. In my opinion, whatever model is followed in preaching the primary responsibility of the preacher is to keep the Scriptures in proper context and to maintain integrity in the interpretation of the text.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Sometimes this can get into semantics over a label. But my understanding of the above quote is that it endorses a particular method as how all sermons ought to be. I could be mistaken in this particular quote, but some preachers do clearly endorse one method alone as "the" way to preach.

I believe Brother Copeland sums up the whole matter well writing that in all cases we must "maintain integrity in the interpretation of the text."

One of the main things that bothers me about hearing/reading that "all sermons should be expository sermons" is that if we take this of a certain method most, if not all, of the New Testament sermons do not fit the category.

Anonymous said...

Overall,I agree with most of the comments made so far. Jim, I agree that we can get too caught up in labels from time to time. Robert, you brought up a very important thing to remember, that being integrity. There are a couple of methods I immediately thought of in regards to the topic. And they are as far apart on the spectrum as you can get.

As a youth and into early adulthood, I remember a radio broadcast entitled, The Old Country Curch." It was by Br. Paul Smith from Sarcoxie, Missouri. His program lasted for quite a few years and could be heard on some of those powerful radio stations such as XERF, WSM, and others, back when there were fewer restrictions by the FCC, and AM stations could be heard in many areas, mostly after sunset. His messages were the most simplistic you would ever hear. They would be done in a "parable" format, usually no longer than 15 minutes. But i can honestly say that I would be moved by a lot of it, even though there was little depth. The reason I believe is the fact of the atmosphere he created. You knew the air was clear. This gets back to the integrity issue.

On the other hand, I have heard some ministers give very lengthy sermons and analyze each verse they were quoting. They could make it captivating enough, that you were sorry to see it end. You knew they were not doing it to impress or make a name for themselves. This gets back to the atmosphere which was conveyed.

I am afraid that today the atmosphere in too many churches has gone awry, and effective preaching can barely be heard or noticed, regardless of the method used.

JamesCharles said...

I think the author here, Mr. Lee, seems to be more concerned about the "big idea" being given rather than the way in which it is presented. He basically does not want one picking an idea, then hunting verses to hang the idea upon. This is where most error has been preached (that I've heard) in Baptist churches. The reason is that if the author does not study each verse's context (the big idea), he can teach anything he wants with it. That's why I eat so much I think, b/c in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall be as gods.