Archive for December, 2009

Happy Birthday Expository Thoughts and a couple of announcements

Four years ago tomorrow I asked a few friends to join me here to talk about preaching and just about anything else that we could remotely attach to it. Almost 1,000 posts later we’re still here. In the meantime Challies dubbed us “King for a Week” and Warnock gave us a “Warnie.” I’m personally holding out for a Nobel. Our first post announced what we hoped to accomplish:

This blog will be dedicated to the expository ministry of the Christian Scriptures (it’s recovery, sharpening, and systematic proclamation). We hope to provide encouragement, resources, and general discussion related to the preaching ministry.

Our goal is still the same and I hope to dedicate more time here in 2010. The last two years I have been finishing a dissertation and watching my wife give birth to two more children (four total). As long as we have preaching to do then there should be plenty to discuss. Blogs are a dying breed these days but we believe there’s still more to say about our craft. Ministry doesn’t sleep and your next sermon is right around the corner or only a couple days away. Let’s meet back here in 2010 and talk shop.

This month I am putting together a couple of interviews with Dr. Bruce Ware and Dr. R. Kent Hughes. We have book reviews, essays, and off the cuff ramblings ready to go. In the meantime, I hope to awaken my fellow contributors and have them actually “contribute.” I will even double their pay.

Blessings to you!

Logic chopping in the naturalist universe

“If” we are nothing more than advanced primates (assuming a purely naturalist explanation of life).

“Then” would it be wrong for one to murder his neighbor?

“Since” any other primate doing this is merely the natural order of things (assuming a purely naturalist explanation of life).

Comments?

Want to learn Logos 4?

My friend John Fallahee is one of the most helpful and competent teachers of Logos Bible Software I know. John is an expert who understands that most preachers want to cut through the fluff and make the best use of the meat of the program. John has produced a set of interactive videos that are designed to offer a thorough and complete understanding of Logos and the current price is excellent ($19.99). See John’s website for more info (here).

No need to “trick things up” with NT narrative

Few could believe what Edmund Morris had done. He was given unprecedented access to President Ronald Reagan during his eight years in political office, and he saw everything. Morris kept copious notes on 3 X 5 index cards and saved them in his own large filing system. After Reagan left office, Morris who was a well-respected historian, was poised to write a massive biography about one of the key figures of 20th Century American history. However, Morris will forever be remembered as the first presidential biographer to introduce fake characters into what everyone anticipated would be an accurate and scholarly presidential biography. Not only did he introduce fake characters into the life of Reagan, he even created fake footnotes to give the appearance of reality to his imagined characters. The book sold well but only modestly compared to what was expected. Never again would Morris’ recounting of history be trusted. Morris missed the opportunity of a lifetime.

What Edmund Morris missed was that good narratives based on real events are already compelling by nature. Rather than simply declaring his subject matter, he inserted his own perspective into the story. Contrast Morris’ perspective with that of another presidential biographer, David McCullough. Someone asked McCullough about his perspective on writing history. He said, “ . . . there’s no need ever to trick things up, to sugar this or that, or use dramatic devices to make it interesting. You just try as best you can to make it as interesting as it actually was.”[1] In a sense, this is the role of good expository homiletics. The task of the preacher is to get out of the way and let the people hear God speaking in the narrative. Having done all the necessary spadework, “This message should be clear and easy to follow, while remaining faithful to the biblical author’s progression of ideas.”[2]


[1] Diane Osen, ed., The Book that Changed My Life: Interviews with National Book Award Winners and Finalists (New York: The Modern Library, 2002), 106-07. I am indebted to Matthew Waymeyer for calling my attention to this particular quote (personal communication, Oct 18, 2009).

[2] Donald R. Sunukjian, “Sticking to the Plot: The Developmental Flow of the Big Idea Sermon,” in The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching: Connecting to People, eds. Keith Willhite and Scott M. Gibson (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 111.

I have only come here seeking knowledge

Philosophers have long marveled at the world. But that’s not exactly accurate. Some philosophers have marveled. Most have responded to the overwhelming weight of reality with pontification and soft-boiled verbiage. The rest have just whined about what a terrible, hard, godless world it is. The world hurts their feelings, and so they fire back dissertations full of insults– calling it an accident, pointless, a derivative of chaos, occasionally even going so far as to deny its existence. But the world doesn’t care. It has thick skin, and all the most important thinkers have become part of it.

[N. D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, 11]

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