Exegetical Reflections

It’s not often that a man is gifted with great skill and wisdom in biblical languages, theology, and pastoral vigilance. My friend Randy McKinion is such a man. He is now blogging at “Exegetical Reflections” which I’m sure will make a great contribution to the cause of expository preaching from a pastoral academician who deeply cares about biblical preaching. Be sure to bookmark his blog!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Paul –
    A very helpful critique of today’s “gaps” in preaching. Thanks for linking to it.
    I’ve been pondering the prevailing ideas about preaching, and have concluded that one of the dominant reasons so many sermons focus on moralistic “practicalities” is because of entrenched misguidance about application in preaching.
    Here’s how I believe it has come about:
    It seems we have systematically trained this generation to believe that behavioral changes themselves are equal to whole life change. Said another way, we’ve come to think that new actions equal new spirituality. It is right to say that all true preaching exhorts the will of the hearer and calls for life change, but what does this really mean and how is it accomplished? Many books and articles on the subject make the case that the difference between boring exegetical sermons and powerful expositions is “practical application”. Are they correct? I believe this assertion is only partially on target. Preaching for life change is the duty of all shepherds charged with feeding the flock. However, just how true life change occurs cannot be reduced to making general (or even specific) suggestions as to how one might “practice” the principles of the sermon. What’s the missing piece? I believe the problem arises from not understanding the importance of preaching the implications of a text before we suggest practical life changes. By “implications”, I mean every way in which the scriptures confront and expose wrong thinking, errant convictions, unholy motivations, and idolatrous affections. It is not enough to explain the meaning of the ancient text in its context…assume contemporary parallels…outline some principles…and offer circumstantial “ways to apply” the principles. The Bible is clear that life transformation occurs when the mind is renewed! Preaching should first renovate the hearers reasoning, confront their humanistic worldview, cement new theological convictions, bring sinful motivations under the captivity of Christ, and smash all idols of the heart. By the time a sermon has traversed these crucial “implications”, first for the original hearers and then for today, practical life changes will become much clearer as the Spirit “applies” the surgical word, renewing the heart and mind.
    What about application? Should preachers include practical ways of changing one’s life? Application should involve two kinds of material: (1) The preachers own life changes which have resulted from new convictions, fresh theological depth, and corrected thinking; (2) General suggestions for practical change that naturally and universally rise from the implications of the text. Congregations should be cautioned, however, that such suggestions are limited and mere behavioral changes without mind renewal will lead to superficiality, weakness, and hypocrisy. They should be encouraged to walk by faith, think deeply about the implications by meditating on sound biblical truth, and never become dependent upon someone else’s practical suggestions. Where the universal practice of a principle is obvious, change your life…but the Spirit may desire other specific changes in your personal life that others cannot see and wouldn’t themselves be helped by applying to their lives.

    A few thoughts…

  2. […] Expository Thoughts “senior” contributor, Jerry Wragg, made his debut here on the new site with a comment that might have been missed so I will re-post it here in its entirety. On a side note we have cracked through the walls of obscurity and made it on to the blog role of fire in the “exceptional” category no less (Thanks Phil, the check is in the mail). […]

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