gospel centered preaching

here is Matt Chandler talking about gospel centered preaching as opposed to silly irreverent myths

p.s. I am trying to remember where I saw this and will update with a link when I remember

while we are on the topic of preaching

Here are John MacArthur’s ten reasons for preaching the word.

first the intro paragraph:

Faithfully preaching and teaching the Word must be the very heart of our ministry philosophy. Any other approach replaces the voice of God with human wisdom. Philosophy, politics, humor, psychology, homespun advice, and personal opinion can never accomplish what the Word of God does. Those things may be interesting, informative, entertaining, and sometimes even helpful—but they are not the business of the church. The preacher’s task is not to be a conduit for human wisdom; he is God’s voice to speak to the congregation. No human message comes with the stamp of divine authority—only the Word of God. How dare any preacher substitute another message?

then the list. Go over there to read the rest of them.

2. Because It Is the Good News of Salvation

4. Because It Stands as the Authoritative Self-Revelation of God
…..
6. Because It Is the Means God Uses to Sanctify His People

ten conclusions about preaching

if you have been following Adrian Warnock’s blog over the last month, you have seen his round up of old posts regarding preaching. These have been excellent.

He has now summarized ten conclusions about preaching. Here are a few of them, but go read all ten.

1. Expository preaching should be defined as preaching that seeks to explain the main point of the portion of the Scripture selected.
…..

7. Preaching is entirely dependent on the supernatural and sovereign activity of the Spirit, who equips both preacher and hearers for what is an impossible task and makes the words of the Bible live in its hearers hearts. Preaching needs to be passionate, emotive (though not necessarily emotional), and bring about a holy moment of experiencing the presence and voice of God through His Word.

8. Preaching God’s Word is the primary way He has ordained for people to be saved, taught, equipped, matured, and encounter God. It is the hope of the church, and a restoration of true preaching has always accompanied true revival.

9. Our preaching should be targeted at and have something relevant for each of our different audiences — the unbelieving visitor, the backslidden, the new Christian, the mature Christian, and church leaders in the congregation. But, ultimately we are accountable to an audience of One before whom we must give an account.

preaching test

Ligonier has posted a quote from Al Mohler on the mystery of preaching:

R. Albert Mohler:

“There is something deeply mysterious about Christian preaching, both in terms of its communication and in terms of its content. After all, what we preach is not what the world expects to hear. It is not a message they will hear anywhere else. No human wisdom, no school of philosophy, no secular salesman, no TV commercial speaker selling his CDs is ever going to come up with this on his own.

But if you preach the gospel, you just might discover that it is not quite so popular. But it is powerful and it is mysterious. Why? Because it was a mystery that God hid from previous generations in order that it might be displayed publicly at the time of the Lord Jesus Christ”

Quoted in Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching. 2nd edition, 2008 by Reformation Trust Publishing, an imprint of Ligonier Ministries.

what do you think? Is Dr. Mohler on to something here? Why or why not?

church planting

Two interesting links that I ran across yesterday. Both of them are in this post by Reformissionary and the Dan Kimball article was also mentioned in this post by Chris Marlow.

The question I have is about church planting. Mark Driscoll talks at length about the Acts 29 church planting network here. it is a fascinating and low key talk that is quite enlightening. He discusses the “marks” of an Acts 29 church plant and what kind of gift set is needed to qualify for their program. In passing he mentions that the church plants in the network that are doing well have strong bible teaching with sermons typically lasting 45 minutes to an hour.

By contrast, Dan Kimball is having some doubts about missional churches that have been planted lately. In case you don’t know, Dan Kimball is considered to be one of the beginners of the emerging church movement. I read his book, the Emerging Church, back in 2003 when I was beginning my own exploration of what church is and should be. I thought his diagnosis of the problems in churches was spot on but that his prescription for change was superficial and silly.

Dan’s current article is enjoyable because it is honest and self aware in a way that most people avoid most of the time. For instance, this is how he begins:

I hope I am wrong. For the past few years, I have been observing, listening, and asking questions about the missional movement. I have a suspicion that the missional model has not yet proven itself beyond the level of theory. Again, I hope I am wrong.

He then goes on to give some examples of missional churches, house churches and traditional attractional model churches and checks their actual results in lives won to the Kingdom of God and people’s lives reflecting that goal. Fascinating.

Go check out these two items. compare and contrast the approaches and results. Do some research on your own. Think about why a church would succeed in reaching the lost and effectively discipling them and why one wouldn’t.

It occurs to me that the power of God flows through his word and the honest effective straightforward expositional preaching thereof. Once the preaching ingredient is in place, then the rest of the church’s success in reaching and changing depends on the effectiveness of the shepherding plans in place. people need care and guidance as they shift their frame of reference, their worldview from self advancement to the advancement of God’s glory and kingdom. Everything else involved in a church plant are negotiable details.

what do you think?

I have to tell you that my experience is as a sunday school teacher in adult Bible study. I began by using the regular Southern Baptist curriculum. I used a couple of different kinds over the first few years. Both of them were absolute jokes. They were dumbed down, foolish and insulted the intelligence of my class. I eventually began using them as starting points for text and did my own lessons and finally discarded them altogether after a few years.

When I abandoned curriculum altogether, I started teaching the Bible expositionally. We did Daniel, Revelation, Romans, Philippians, Hebrews and I Peter that I can remember right now. We also did some quicker looks at minor prophets, Joel, Jonah, Haggai, Habakkuk, and Hosea. Some Sundays we would cover four or five verses and other Sundays we might cover a dependent phrase in one verse. We took as long as it took to cover the material effectively. We took some Sundays off to cover special events like holidays or something that came up and needed attention in a more topical manner, but then we returned to the text of whatever book we were studying. It took more than a year to make it through each of Romans and Hebrews. But what wonderful years well spent.

Numerically, our classes did well and, more importantly, there was evidence of life change occurring in our class members. What I learned is that God uses and blesses the straightforward honest expositional teaching and preaching of his word. Gimmicky lesson plans that don’t challenge the learner are not valuable.

Prodigal God

here is an excerpt from the book the Prodigal God that I mentioned previously here.

as quoted by steve mccoy:

Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think.

Tim Keller in The Prodigal God, 14-15.

emphasis added

Mohler on preachingq

Some quotes from this book.

“The audacious claim of Christian preaching is that the faithful declaration of the Word of God, spoken through the preacher’s voice, is even more powerful than anything music or image can deliver.”

“If we do not come face-to-face with our sin as individuals and as a congregation, we have not seen God, and we have not worshiped Him.”

“The anemia of evangelical worship—all the music and energy aside—is directly attributable to the absence of genuine expository preaching. If we as pastors are truly serious about giving our people a true vision of God, showing them their own sinfulness, proclaiming to them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and encouraging them to obedient service in response to that gospel, then we will devote our lives to preaching the Word. That is our task and our calling—to confront our congregations with nothing less than the living and active Word of God, and to pray that the Holy Spirit will thereby open eyes, convict consciences, and apply that Word to human hearts.”

“The health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians—teaching, preaching, defending, and applying the great doctrines of the faith.”

quotes pulled from the book review by Challies here.