Pomo Preschool-Summer School...

Expository Preaching
It seems that what my peers and I want the most in church is someone who will dig into the word, and let the text speak for itself. A common journey through the thematic messages of the 1st century Church, with background info, cross referencing and context; but not hopping from verse fragment to verse fragment to support a theme not found anywhere two or more verses are read in continuity. What we want is expository preaching.

Expository preaching (also referred to as systematic exposition) is a form of preachingScripture...Expository preaching differs from topical preaching in that the former concentrates on a specific text and discusses topics covered therein, whereas the latter concentrates on a specific topic and references texts covering the topic.
-from Wikipedia

Why does expository preaching appear to be the cure for what ails us?

Expository Preaching and the Seeker Movement

The seeker movement stresses the use of topical preaching in an attempt to make the Bible "relevant" to the congregation, specifically visitors with little or no recent church background. As such, expository preaching is very seldom used, and if so it may cover a book of the Bible at a very surface level (no more than 4-8 weeks total). Many verses that do not neatly fall into a topic, or where the topic (such as the Old Testament sacrificial system) is not considered "relevant" to the needs of the congregation, are thus not covered within the seeker movement.

Probably because we aren't getting a whole lot of it recently(if ever). But as I've been thinking on this, I ran across a series of articles at Out of Ur. These articles cover "The Myth of Expository Preaching." The writer obviously think expository preaching is bad, but that's really no surprise.

In reality what guides interpretation is not individual analysis of the text. It is the broad consensus interpretation for the biblical texts found in the ongoing history of church doctrine.The myth that expository preaching is more faithful to the text is simply not true. There is plenty room for all kinds of human interpretation even within expository preaching. David Fitch

Well, he would think that. Considering that Post-Modernism loves to wave the "There is no truth" banner, what could be worse than someone getting onstage and telling others what the Truth is, and why? "Here is what they wrote, and it is meant specifically and purposefully for X. And you can find in this (passage/chapter/book) where they clarify what they mean, and if you look at another (passage/chapter/book) you'll see that the writer has mentioned the same theme, but elaborates on a specific point further."

Oh no, this will not do. What the PoMo's would rather hear is someone walking up to the front of a gathering, wringing his hands, and asking which (passage/chapter/book) the gathering as a whole would like to read. Then they would all read and interpret amongst themselves, maybe coming to a consensus based on how confortable they are with a given translation, more often than not just patting everybody on the head and telling each other how spiritual and deep they all are.(this is not actually what the writer from OoR wants, it's more in line with Solomon's Porch)

Here is the bottom line: people are not stupid, and if you give them a chance and challenge them, the ones with character and potential usually rise to up and deal with it.
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. -Acts 17:11 (nasb)

Kinda weird that the Bible itself would lean toward a situation where the listener demonstrated their character by (gasp) examining what the Apostle Paul told them against the continuity of Jewish Scripture. Now this is not to say that cynical disdain should be our attitude as we listen to any discussion of Scripture, but to take the speaker at their word and point, and have the defense mechanism of regular study and meditation on those same Scriptures so that you can verify truth, discover untruth, and generally participate in your own personal walk.

the end


Chris Dugan said...

I think it all comes down to accountability (be it topical or expository preaching situations).

I don't want wimpy teachers who don't challenge me or don't tell me I'm doing something wrong, but I also don't want some dictating schoolmarm type who won't listen to critcism and constantly plays the Hebrews 13:17 eisegesis card.

That's where the accountability comes in. If the teacher preaching is living in accountability not only to the Word but also to the Holy Spirit as it moves in the congregation you have an all around safe situation. In that scenario "style" type issues will be worked out because if truth is being presented clearly people will respond favorably if not reluctantly. It's when truth gets muddied and obscured that the teacher will need to correct himself to be more in line with the Scripture and Holy Spirit's leading.

Sometimes I think it's the congregation that has a Biblical obligation to teach and admonish their leaders...

MamaD said...

Great post, Aaron! Thanks!

I think you hit the nail on the head in mentioning the seeker movement and its relationship to topical preaching.

I once heard Rick Warren (think it was on Dateline) say that he never preaches on abortion or homosexuality because there might be people in the congregation who have had abortions or are gay and they might get offended and not hear the gospel message. In this case certain "topics" are avoided.

I'm guessing that he doesn't preach on lying, stealing, covetousness, or adultery either because there might be some people who have done that!

Ben J said...

I'm guessing that he doesn't preach on lying, stealing, covetousness, or adultery either because there might be some people who have done that!

but God will still let him into heaven beacause of his forthcoming book "The Purpose Driven After Life"

Cox said...

God doesn't "let" people into heaven Ben, but you know that.

Lexi the Pixie said...

why is there a picture of Carson from Queer Eye's book?