I’m getting out of town this afternoon (through Saturday) with my fellow elders for our annual leadership retreat. I would be interested to hear if some of you do similar things with your leadership and if so what do you do? For fun? For ministry?
Archive for January, 2008
Expository Thoughts contributor, Randy McKinion, has been teaching a biblical theology of the OT book by book at Colonial Baptist (Cary, NC). He has made available his notes on a class blog. This is a great resoure so be sure to check it out (here).
I am teaching an adult Sunday School class this year on the “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.” Obviously, i am using Dr. Whitney’s classic work as a guide among other resources.
I have finally come to his chapter on fasting. He suggests that “Jesus expected that His followers would fast.” (Matthew 6:16-17 and Matthew 9:14-15). He also writes, “And since there is nothing here or elsewhere in Scripture indicating that we no longer need to fast, and since we know that Christians in the book of Acts fasted (9:9, 13:2, 14:23), we may conclude that Jesus still expects His followers to fast today.”
Help me out here (w/o doing my exegesis for me). :)
1. What must read resources would you suggest I review to help answer the question: is fasting a mandated discipline for all believers today?
2. Do you agree with Dr. Whitney’s quotes? Why or why not?
3. Other specific thoughts or helps you might have for me?
Thanks to Matt for letting me post this today. Make sure you read his quote on preaching as well since it’s a great one.
Expository preaching and teaching unwaveringly begins and remains with the biblical text throughout the whole sermon. Rather than beginning with a human need or concern as the impetus for the sermon, the expository sermon deliberately reverses the action and has the sermon originate in the exposition of the Biblical text itself. Exposition starts with the Biblical text and holds fast to that text throughout the sermon or lesson.
—Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament, p. 50
As I was eating breakfast this morning the following thoughts on preaching came to mind.
My wife made blueberry pancakes for the family breakfast this morning. They were delicious ‘panners’ made perfect when topped off with maple syrup. The syrup I have grown accustomed to is imitation “light” syrup. As a matter of fact I really don’t enjoy “regular” syrup anymore. It is too sweet for my liking. I’d even choose light syrup over tree-tapped genuine Vermont maple syrup.
Sadly, I realized that many people are wired the same way when it comes to preaching. Many Christians have become so accustomed to shallow evangelical principalizing that when real expository preaching is tasted it’s rejected (at least initially). R.L. Dabney refers to a period in church history when Scriptural truth is presented but not in its Scriptural dress. That has become the most accepted and familiar mode of preaching in most evangelical pulpits these days. I’m not thinking about the Joel Osteens of the world in this particular post; I’m talking about men who honestly think they’re presenting an expository sermon and of congregations who think they’re actually hearing one. It’s not unbiblical truth that’s presented, its actually sound doctrine that’s just not presented in Scriptural dress.
Dabney rightly believed that the golden age of preaching is when Scriptural truth is presented in Scriptural dress. That of course is the power of true expository preaching. When we preach, we’re called to speak as it were, the very words of God (1 Peter 4:10-11). This is best accomplished when gifted men commit themselves wholly to Bible exposition.
The problem is that many people want so many illustrations, stories, or application points that no time is left for true exposition. Who wants to hear about the historical background of Romans when in that time 3 or 4 stories, illustrations, or jokes could be shared? Now most people wouldn’t say that aloud but that is in fact what they’re thinking.
I noticed this response over 10 years when I was a student at the Master’s College. During a school sponsored Bible conference three gifted men brought the Word. All were great communicators but one was especially humorous and “relatable”. Unfortunately his sermons were also the lightest of the three. His preaching was thoroughly evangelical but not truly expositional or deep. Still most of the students I talked with in the dorms during and after the conference thought his sermons were the “best.” Those most gifted in oratory are often most prone to this extreme. It’s what i call “shallow evangelical principlizing.”
Engaging oratory and great communication is not synonymous with a great sermon. In our preaching we should seek both light and heat. I’m not calling for dry, lifeless, preaching here. Passionate, clear, text-driven preaching is what our people most desperately need. Just don’t be surprised if you bring that type of syrup to your people if they initially reject it in favor of the “light” stuff.
An expository sermon or lesson is one that…allows the biblical text to supply both the shape and the content of the message or lesson from that text itself. The reason for this limitation is important. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of pouring what we already know of the grace of God into the different containers made up of different verses of Scripture without seriously giving each text an opportunity to first teach us what it wants to say. Not only does such preaching become repetitive, but it severely handicaps the preacher’s opportunity to grow and stretch in new areas.
—Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament, pp. 49-50
Question: Does anyone know if it’s okay for me to sell my copy of Bibleworks 7.0? I was unable to find anything on their website that spoke to this issue so if anyone knows, shoot me an email (my address is under “contact”). Yes, I’m using something else which I thought I would never do.
I just received this from the home office: