Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Theological Clarity and expository preaching

One of my great concerns in preaching is to present the truths of Scripture in a clear and accurate manner. I cannot say that I always succeed. But theologically "fuzzy" sermons often do more harm than good. Here are some thoughts on theological clarity in preaching.

1) Preach expositonally. Topical preaching does have its place. I usually preach one or two topical sermons a year (and then immediately repent!) However, there is a great danger of imposing our own presuppositions on to the texts of Scripture. Of course, I am referring to topical preaching that actually uses Scripture in a responsible manner! Exposition forces the preacher to take into account the context of the passage and its place in redemptive revelation.

2) Don't shy away from theological language. God's people need to hear and learn words like justification, substitution, propitiation, and sanctification. There is a danger to avoiding the "language of Zion" in preaching. The pastor becomes a "communicator", or "facilitator", rather than a preacher of God's Word. If we are not careful our preaching can become so caught up in modern vernacular that doctrine becomes weak and tepid. We must take great care to explain and apply these words and the great doctrines they describe in such a way that our people grasp the glorious truths that have been entrusted to the Church through Scripture.

3) Work hard at application- I once read a paper by Haddon Robinson on preaching which stated that more heresy is preached during the application of a sermon than at any other time. Apply the meaning of the text. Don't say more than Scripture says, or less! Application is necessary. But be careful.

To be continued . . .

4 comments:

Billy said...

In light of preaching, what is the means of transformation?

Restated, what does God the Holy Spirit use to bring about transformative change in a person's life?

Anonymous said...

How do you tackle the the topics of the Lord's SUpper and Baptism. They are not found in every passage you will preach. Do you intertwine such things into your sermons and preach on them when you actually observe them, or do you just tack on the Lord's Supper and Baptisms in your worship times. It would be very interesting to be preaching a passage of Scripture that has nothing to do with either ordinance of the church and then have them actually done in your service.

Anonymous

collin wimberly said...

Anonymous,

Great question. Because we do not partake of the Lord's Supper every Sunday, this really isn't so hard. I never "tack on" the Lord's supper. It is always presented in a service where we concentrate on the Lord's death, the meaning of the cross, and substionary atonement.
As to the baptism, it is a regular part of our services. We include it as an aspect of worship. Most of the time I take a few moments to explain that baptism is the believer's public profession of fatih and that it represents the beliver's union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.

Collin

collin wimberly said...

Billy,

Another great question, why don't you ask an easy one next time?

Here's the question again, "In light of preaching, what is the means of transformation?

Restated, what does God the Holy Spirit use to bring about transformative change in a person's life?"

First, the Holy Spirit uses the preaching and teaching of God's Word to transform a person more and more into the image of Christ. The more a person obeys the Word, the more God reveals truth through the Word. All of this hinges on obedience. This sense of 'conviction' is vital to the process of transformation.

Another process by which God produces transformation is discipline. God's discipline draws the believer back to obedience and purity.

Also, God uses the Church, the community of faith to transform the believer. In Colossans 2:2 Paul states "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely in Chirst, . . .
As believers worship together, hear and obey the Word together, and hold each other accountable, they mature spiritually. There are things about Christ and the Christian life that cannot be known or experienced outside of a vital connection to the body of Christ. Those who claim they can worship God better outside of a Church family miss out on much of what God desires to do in thier lives.

Collin