Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Polity Matters (Part 3): Preaching God's Agenda

Maybe it's a reach to file a pro-expository preaching rant within a series on polity. But it's my blog. Plus I found a sweet quote in a Leadership Interview titled "Modern Church Reform II," and quite a bit of Dever's church reform approach deals with polity--leadership, membership, discipline, etc.

The interviewer poses this question to him: "Why particularly expositional preaching? Why should that be the main diet of the church?" Dever's answer:
Because anything other than expositional preaching will have a higher portion of our editing in it—-as we select the topic, we select the Scriptures, we select the issues to be addressed. As long as we have preachers, there will always be human editing involved in that sense, but at least with expositional preaching, it’s more inductive in that sense. You’re attempting to let God have the agenda-setting role by just saying, “Right, I’m preaching through 1 John right now. So if it's in 1 John, I’m just going to preach whatever’s in that, even if I don’t understand it all . . . . That kind of commitment beforehand to preach whatever is in Scripture to God’s people rather than just your hobby horses or the things that you think are most important or that you care about, I think is of vital importance to the health of the church.
I realize he is not the only person saying this, but he is the one I happen to be blogging about right now. I do want to extend a cap-tip to my expository preaching professor, Wayne McDill, author of Twelve Essential Skills of Great Preaching and The Moment of Truth: A Guide to Effective Sermon Delivery. In my class notes from last year I found his list of the benefits of expository preaching:
    1. Honors the nature of God's revelation
    2. Protects the preacher from taking texts out of their contexts
    3. Allows the preacher to address a wider range of biblical subjects
    4. Increases the authority of the preacher's message
    5. Aids the pastor in planning his preaching
    6. Assists the preacher in building his library
    7. Keeps the preacher from riding theological hobby horses
    8. Creates a greater depth of biblical knowledge among the pastor and the congregation
    9. Instills in the congregation a love for God's Word
    10. Helps to maintain the preacher's spiritual vitality and moral purity
    11. Provides a never-ending source of sermons
And I'll add one of my own: It shows the congregation that the pastor is not out gunning for the big problem he perceives in the church's spiritual life at the moment. It almost communicates an inevitability to the pastor's sermon. "Hey, folks, I didn't put this in the text. God did. I have to deal with it, or I wouldn't be doing my job."

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