Even with his busy schedule, Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York took time to answer briefly five question we had for him concerning the role of expository preaching. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few months, Dr. Keller has written a book “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” published by Penguin Books. Thank you, Dr. Keller, for your time!
MRP: What role do you see expository preaching playing in the life and ministry of the local church?
TK: Very, very important. One of the essentials of vital church ministry, though not the only one.
MRP: Who has been your greatest influence as an expository preacher?
TK: John Stott, Dick Lucas, D.M.Lloyd-Jones, about equally.
MRP: Do you believe that expository preaching can be inductive as well as deductive?
TK: Of course. In some ways, those are not that different. In each case you are slowly rolling out the solution from the text to a problem that you pose early on. In inductive preaching you are posing a question ‘e.g. how should we handle suffering?’ which you then answer from the text. In deductive preaching you say–‘this is what we believe about suffering, but is there anyway to justify it?’ and then you go on to answer that question from the text.
MRP: What role does the local church play in training preachers? Should they farm this training out exclusively to the seminaries?
TK: Probably not. I don’t have strong feelings about that. Working preachers have things to teach. Preacher-professors, who specialize in the subject, have things to teach as well.
MRP: What would be some of the basic areas you would cover in training lay preachers who have had no theological training whatsoever?
I’d follow the curriculum of the ‘Corn Hill Course’ in London that does this very thing. They simply provide English Bible training, surveying every part of the Bible and drilling down into specific books and requiring expository messages as homework for every course.