Dr. Hershael York preaches from the Book of Esther in Southern Seminary Chapel recently. He navigates through the passages that cause us trouble and connects it beautifully with the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (Dr. York came recently to our Mile High Preaching Conference. Here is a great example of how he put the lessons he taught into practice.)
Our aim as preachers is not to be the most erudite scholar of the age. Our aim is not to titillate and amuse. Our aim is not to build a big church. Our aim is to take the sacred text, explain what it means, tie it to other scriptures so people can see the whole a little better, and apply it to life so it bites and heals, instructs, and edifies.
Read the rest here.
Brandon at ProPreacher gives preachers four benefits of eye contact in preaching.
- Eye contact builds trust.
- Eye contact shows confidence.
- Eye contact helps engagement.
- Eye contact reads the audience.
It’s a great article, made even better when it ends like this:
“Just remember to be slow and take your time. If you do move too fast you will look like a hyperactive kid after three espresso shots.”
Worth the read!
(HT: Thom Rainer)
Preachers struggle with the temptation to cultivate sermons according to the times rather than according to the text of Scripture. This is nothing new. In fact, even at the founding of our country, the politicians did not serve as the greatest influencers—the pastors and preachers did. In their zeal to break away from the Crown of England and from King George II’s tyrannical rule, they saw that liberty and a democratic republic had to be God’s order to government. Influenced by John Locke of the enlightenment philosophy, that reason could well rule the day rather than revelation from Scripture, this theistic rationalism began to permeate the culture.
One way it soaked in to the psyche of the colonial mind during the American Revolution and beyond was the organization of where the power behind our rulers came from. Below is a quote from Gregg L. Frazer’s book The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution. This serves as an example of how the ideas of the culture may skew our interpretation of Scripture to suit our own worldviews.
Another idea that the preachers clearly borrowed from liberal democratic theory rather than the Bible was the notion that rulers are accountable to their people. The distinction is a function of the difference between popular sovereignty and the sovereignty of God. Biblically, rulers are accountable to God because they receive their authority and legitimacy from Him. In contrast, the preachers adhered to the liberal democratic principle that rulers receive their authority and legitimacy from the people; consequently, it follows that they should be accountable to the people. As Samuel Cooke put it, “Those in authority, in the whole of their public conduct, are accountable to the society which gave them their political existence.” Similarly, Simeon Howard described the magistrate as “the trustee of the people” who received his power from them; so, “to them he ought to be accountable for the use he makes of this power.” Samuel Langdon also drew the logical conclusion that, since, “every magistrate and officer” received his power from the people, “to the people all in authority are accountable.”
We must beware of impositional preaching: where we impose our ideas onto Scripture; where the current of the culture controls the current of the canon of Scripture, and not vice versa.
In what ways do you see our culture influencing the pulpits of our day?
Last weekend, we held the Mile High Preaching Conference on October 25-26 with Dr. Hershael York. It was a tremendous time, and we thank Dr. York for his time. Give this a listen. (Our apologies for the persistent hum!)
Session 3: Preaching to a Postmodern Culture
Erik Raymond writes a helpful article to pastors that centers around this thought:
Effective preachers are those who have been personally moved by the text before they attempt to see others moved by the text.
What are your thoughts?
I just noticed that Monergism.com has posted some helpful sermons by a faithful preacher on the issue of the ministry. Here is their description and the links–
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson (born 1948) is a Scottish theologian known in Reformed Christian circles for his teaching, writing, and editorial work. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen and has been an minister in the Church of Scotland since 1971. He has served as an editor with the Banner of Truth Trust and worked as a minister at St George’s-Tron Church, Glasgow.
Ferguson is currently Senior Minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He has previously held the Charles Krahe Chair for Systematic Theology at Westminster Philadelphia. He has also taught at other reformed protestant seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary.
Called to the ministry (MP3)
Preaching the Word (MP3)
The minister’s prayer (MP3)
Desiring God posted a very insightful article by Tony Reinke called “A Pastor’s Monday” that I wanted to pass along to you. It starts off as follows:
Mondays are notoriously difficult for pastors. If you are not a pastor, pray for your pastor today as you read through this post. If you are a pastor, listen to the words of pastor Jared Wilson as he describes the structure of his Mondays, along with the personal challenges he faces as another week begins. Here’s what he writes…
“Let those who would discharge aright the ministry of the gospel learn, not merely to speak and declaim, but to penetrate into the consciences of men, to make them see Christ crucified, and feel the shedding of his blood. When the Church has painters such as these, she no longer needs the dead images of wood and stone, she no longer requires pictures; both of which, unquestionably, were first admitted to Christian temples when the pastors had become dumb and been converted into mere idols, or when they uttered a few words from the pulpit in such a cold and careless manner, that the power and efficacy of the ministry were utterly extinguished.”
–John Calvin, Commentary on Galatians, p. 81.
I am pumped—I just signed up for the Expositors Summit 2012 at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. A great seminary, a great lineup, a great conference, and a time for me to recharge my batteries in my primary calling—preaching the gospel!
Any of you in?