Monday, October 09, 2006

Potential Weaknesses of Expository Preaching

In the comments section of the previous post, Will asked, “Are you going to do a follow up on the dangers of expository preaching?" Sure. I would argue that some of the greatest potential weaknesses of expository preaching include:

1. The tendency to turn the sermon into a "running commentary" without any unifying theme. Expository preaching can easily get “lost in the details” of the text unless a preacher is diligently attentive to the overarching themes of larger portions of the surrounding text.

2. The tendency to treat any given text in isolation from the rest of the Bible. Christian preaching must always include the sweep of redemptive history, particularly the fall (sin, fallen condition focus, law) and redemption (Christ, justification and sanctification). When a preacher neglects the law/gospel contrast in justification and the gospel/law continuum in sanctification, moralism or antinomianism inevitably results.

3. The tendency to neglect application. Among men who value Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic and who have learned how to conduct diagrammatical analysis and tracings of the logical flow, there is sometimes a tendency to preach the language and exegesis without applying the meaning of the text to the souls and every day lives of the parishioners. This is a great mistake and fails to recognize the application-oriented character of the sermons recorded in the New Testament.

4. The tendency to adopt a highly intellectual and anti-emotional approach to the pulpit ministry. But biblical preaching comes from whole men and is addressed to whole men. It does not neglecting the intellect, will, or affections.

Other thoughts?

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