Engaging Exposition (2): A Crisis in 21st Century Preaching: a Mandate for Engaging Biblical Exposition

We believe the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is at a critical point. There is a crisis in our pulpits, and the situation is critical. Seduced by the sirens of modernity, preachers of the gospel have jettisoned a word-based ministry that is expository in nature. Skiing across the surface needs of a fallen, sinful humanity we have turned the pulpit into a pop-psychology side-show and a feel-good pit stop. We have neglected preaching the whole counsel of God’s Word. The result? Too many of our people know neither the content of Scripture nor the doctrines of Scripture. If the Bible is used at all in preaching, it is usually as a proof-text out of context with no real connection to what the biblical author is saying. Many who claim and perhaps believe they are expositors betray their confession by their practice.

The words of the prophet Amos were never more piercing, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12).

Many pastors are guilty of committing ministerial malpractice on their congregation. By what they do they indicate that they believe we can see people converted and brought to maturity in Christ without the consistent teaching of the Bible. Further, at least implicitly, they question the judgment of God the Holy Spirit in inspiring Scripture as we have it. They suggest by their method and practice that the Holy Spirit should have packaged the Bible differently.

A Definition/Description of Biblical Exposition

If we were limited to ten words or less we would define faithful, expository preaching as, “Christ centered, text driven, Spirit led preaching that transforms lives.” Expanding this definition into a more full description, we would say,

“Expository preaching is text driven preaching that honors the truth of Scripture as it was given by the Holy Spirit. Its goal is to discover the God-inspired meaning through historical-grammatical-theological investigation and interpretation. By means of engaging and compelling proclamation, the preacher explains, illustrates and applies the meaning of the biblical text in submission to and in the power of the Holy Spirit, preaching Christ for a verdict of changed lives.”