Sunday, January 30, 2011

Part 2-Is preaching still necessary?

Friday on the blog I took a brief look at expositional preaching. Mainly defining what expositional preaching is in the first place and then raising the question as to whether or not it is necessary for the church today. The best place to start answering this question is by taking a look at the Scriptures themselves.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is seen preaching throughout all of Galilee (Matt. 4:23). In the gospel of Luke, we see Jesus sending out the apostles to go and preach (Luke 9:6). In the book of Acts, Peter and John return to Jerusalem preaching the gospel in many villages (Acts 8:25). Paul is seen preaching throughout his missionary journeys. The examples could continue to go on as men of God are seen throughout Scripture proclaiming the gospel truth.

In regards to signs and wonders, is there inherently anything wrong with them? No, but signs and wonders are always seen pointing to the message of Jesus, not replacing the message. I fear that many groups have replaced the message of Jesus in pursuits of the signs and wonders of Jesus.

In regards to certain emerging types, is there anything wrong with having an open round table discussion? No, I have a small group over at my house every Sunday night and believe it is beneficial to study the Scriptures together. But I have to agree with John Piper here who says, "Preaching is not conversation. Preaching is not discussion. Preaching is not casual talk about religious things. Preaching is not simply teaching." Rather, "Preaching is the heralding of a message permeated by the sense of God's greatness and majesty and holiness."

In regards to those who see preaching as a true and essential mark of the church, is it really necessary? My answer is absolutely yes! Although I only used New Testament examples, preaching is seen from Genesis to Revelation and if your church gets away from preaching then it inevitably replaces it with something that is other than the message that Jesus proclaimed.

This is recognizably a brief look at preaching today, but I do not believe this is an issue that is really open to discussion as far as to whether to preach or not to preach. Mark Driscoll points out that "The question is not, will there be preaching, but what will be preached." But that is another issue for another post. The purpose of this post is to primarily generate the thought process behind preaching and to hopefully encourage those of my friends who are substituting it with something else to get back to the place of preaching, and expositional preaching at that. Any thoughts? Agree or disagree?


  1. Real quick... I wouldn't say "preaching" (at least the common understood definition) is necessary for every faith group, I think that is being proven. What kind of preaching are we talking about? Obviously John Piper is referring to however he preaches, but there are many different styles... Or do styles matter? Apparently a conversation doesn't count but yelling and screaming at people would be considered good preachig as well as walking around a cool stage with a hoodie on and sporting a faux hawk pretty much just teaching against what everyone else is doing is good preaching too. (I'm obviously being cincal and dramatic here, know I'm just picking).

    Also, let's ask the question, necessary for what? What is preaching necessary for? Again, there are many churches who do not practice the traditional sermon and yet who are greatly sharing and spreading the good news of Jesus.

    So again, i wouldn't say that it's necessary (whatever that means) for every church and every faith group... Some seem to be getting along just fine without it.

  2. Preaching as described in the Bible, practiced by Jesus, practiced by the apostles, and practiced by the church fathers. As J.I. Packer says, "letting the texts talk." Preaching that is Bible-based, Christ-focused, and life-changing. Part of my point here is that on one side you have groups that have neglected preaching and then you also have groups who preach, but with little attention given to the Bible, self-focused, and leaves people with a superficiality that they are "okay".

    Much of this goes back to a lack of confidence in the Scriptures and a feel to be relevant at the expense of the Scriptures. In the words of Alistair Begg, "The Scriptures are neglected and debased and are used only as a springboard for all kinds of 'talks' that are far removed from genuine biblical exposition." Begg also points out that the expository preacher should do three things: begin with a text not an idea, fuze together the biblical text with the contemporary world, and show its relevance.