Friday, April 18, 2008

Bou's Brief

Due to the long delays while I write/rewrite/delete/rewrite my posts, I plan to offer a short glimpse of something near the end of each week. However, unlike old blog, I do plan to relate these thoughts to preaching.

But Times Have Changed...

Somehow, Biblical Exposition runs into a significant amount of resistance. Though opposed, a person will usually admit that the history of the church supports this mode of preaching. Often, they will even recognize that many New Testament preachers were expositing an Old Testament text. Usually, they will concede that Biblical Exposition is the only logical application to one who believes in verbal, plenary inspiration. However, most continue to resist for one reason:

Times have changed. That form just won't work anymore.

The Lord has blessed our church tremendously. We have growing believers, who are being transformed into the image of Christ. We have people who have faced incredibly difficult circumstances and have a faith that is growing. We have men (and wives) who are preparing themselves for more involved (potentially full-time) ministry. We've had the unparalleled joy of seeing sheep added to the fold!

Anyone who knows me knows this is not my doing. I regularly pray that God would simply keep me out of the way and not let me mess things up. Yet, despite all my weaknesses...despite the radical (and unplanned) changes our church has had to endure...despite the fact that people have been moving out of our community and jobs are hard to come by...despite all of these things (and more) our church has continued to grow in size and in depth...all while growing more and more dear in my heart. I simply don't know of another pastor who loves and enjoys his church body more.

I hate the effect pragmatism has had on the church. To simply encourage pastors to try Biblical Exposition because it gains numbers is not to really fix the problem. Preaching the Bible simply becomes another method, rather than the way to build a church. I had plead with another pastor to consider the merits of Biblical Exposition, with each argument failing to convince. In desperation I finally asked, "How come it works at our church?"

Without a blink, this man (who, to my knowledge has never been to my town) began to inform me about the culture surrounding my church. We're stuck about 30 years behind the rest of society, we're simplistic and overly modernistic. Therefore, my archaic ways are effective...for now. In time, these methods will quit working (as my town "progresses") and even today, the closer I'd get to metropolitan areas, the more outdated my methods would seem. (Ironically, we have several families from his neighborhood who drive past his church and make the long trip to "Mayberry"...pretty much disproving his theory.)

It's not really about the results...

I've just returned from an amazing conference. Each speaker, a pastor/elder in their local congregation strongly advocates Sequential Exposition through Scripture. Consider these names:

CJ Mahaney
Ligon Duncan
Al Mohler
Mark Dever
John Piper
John MacArthur
RC Sproul
Thabiti Anyabwile

Despite the staggering diversity in the preachers and their churches, each church is incredibly healthy. Consider Dever's (in his words, the smallest church of these preachers, by 10-fold in some cases) church. Though right in the heart of Washington DC, and yet possibly more traditional than most churches in the country, Capital Hill continues to reach people, grow, deepen walks and have a tremendous impact on young people. All the stereotypes are completely shattered.

Yet, some will continue to protest that Biblical Exposition can't work.

It's almost like some don't want it to work.


k76 said...

I'm led to think that what matters so much more than the METHOD of preaching is the HEART of the preacher. "It works" at our church, and will continue to, as long as the hearts of the shepherd and the sheep are singly focused on Christ. (And I'm quite happy to live in Mayberry!)

The Lord has convicted me significantly in the last two weeks to not be lazy in praying for our pastors. What a tremendous amount of responsibility to lead God's people in the truth.

You are prayed for!

Margaret said...

Because of the format of our previous church, we have never been able to experience this type of preaching, and we are loving it. One of our kids recently said that they get a lot more out of the Bible with this kind of teaching. But, I agree with k76, it's the heart that makes the difference. The same method could be used by a teacher who is idolizing numbers instead of hearts and that church would eventually die.

We have also felt the need to be praying for our pastors more and it's important to let them know they are prayed for. We never want to take our Godly leaders for granted. Lord, help that to never be so!

danny2 said...

i would simply suggest that the METHOD has played a tremendous role (and continues to) in the shaping of the preacher.

the Word sanctifies the listener and the preacher!