Tragedy of Compromise
Scriptural Guidelines for Preaching
seen that the New Evangelical philosophy has influenced
preaching in the following ways:
overemphasis on the positive aspects of preaching while
neglecting its warning aspects.
occupation with psychology.
replacement of authoritative pronouncement with the concept
of "sharing" ideas.
preaching rather than reasoned exposition.
to what people want rather than what they need.
retreat from what is viewed as "dogmatism."
of this emphasis which has developed within New Evangelical
circles there is an urgent need to review the biblical guidelines
for preaching. Preaching is the act of communicating Godís
Word to men. Certainly within the pages of the Bible we
should be able to discover some divine principles for this
of the weakness in todayís preaching can be traced back
to a weak view of the inspiration and authority of Scripture.
While there are differences among New Evangelicals over
this question, there has been a noticeable drift to weaker
positions on inspiration in recent years. Francis Schaeffer
in his probing book The Great Evangelical Disaster
sounds the warning: "But what is happening in evangelicalism
today? Is there the same commitment to Godís absolutes which
the early church had? Sadly we must say that this commitment
is not there . . . . Evangelicalism is not unitedly standing for
a strong view of Scripture. We must say with sadness that
in some places seminaries, institutions, and individuals
who are known as evangelicals no longer hold to a full view
does not hold to the full inspiration of Scripture, it will
certainly affect his preaching. If a preacher has questions
concerning the complete inspiration of a given passage,
he will not be able to expound it with authority. The command
to "preach the word" (II Tim. 4:2) is preceded
by the classic passage on inspiration. "All scripture
is given by inspiration of God" (II Tim. 3:16), and
upon the basis of that truth we preach. Commitment to the
complete inerrancy of the Bible gives the preacher confidence
and helps him preach with power and authority.
have already seen, there is a move on the part of some evangelical
leaders to discount the value of expository preaching and
to emphasize "issues" preaching. A correct and
complete definition of expository preaching is not easy
to come by, as can be verified by an examination of various
texts on the subject. However, for our purposes here we
can say that expository preaching is that style of preaching
that endeavors to exegete, explain, and apply a passage
or passages of Scripture, taking into consideration the
argument of the writer, the grammatical construction, the
historical setting, and the theological implications. The
expositorís first concern is: "What does the passage
say?" His next concern is "What does the passage
mean?" Answering these questions involves an application
of the laws of hermeneutics. His final concern is "What
does the passage mean to me?" This is application.
Our first concern, however, should be to discover what God
intended to say in the passage, not what we would like the
passage to say.
no formal definitions of expository preaching exist in Scripture,
there is an excellent summary of some of its ingredients
found in Nehemiah 8:8 . . . "So they read in the book of
the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused
them to understand the reading." In a word, the teachers
of Israel took passages of Scripture, moved from verse to
verse, and explained the meaning of verses in their context.
They were, in fact, expounding the Scriptures. Expository
preaching has a number of advantages:
honors the doctrine of biblical inspiration, holding the
preacher to the text and emphasizing to the congregation
the sacredness of the written Word.
keeps the preacher from unsupported flights of fancy.
enables the preacher to cover many different areas of
divine truth over a period of time rather than concentrating
on favorite subjects and matters of particular interest.
practiced by a pastor over a long period of time, it provides
a congregation with a biblical education that will produce
spiritual maturity and depth of Christian living.
The Tradedy of Compromise. ByErnest Pickering. ©1994. BJU Press.
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