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COVID AND CONFLICTING CONVICTIONS

A Christian brother launched a volley of convictions about masks and vaccinations at me in our telephone conversation. He did so without knowing my convictions, and he did not care to find out. He assumed that his convictions were right, so he had the right to express them. Last year, a local church advertised that they opposed the government mask mandate “by Christian conviction” as if those on the other side have no convictions. The reality is that many Christians hold opposite convictions about vaccinations and mask-wearing, leading to a divided church in a partisan world.


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SECONDHAND SERMONS

 

“I don’t have the time for sermon preparation with all the other pastoral responsibilities that demand my attention.”

“Other preachers say it better than me, so why not use their messages to reach my people better?”

“The communication experts know how to craft a message that will attract people much better than I do.”

“If we are going to reach more people, we need to be spending more time studying people than we do studying the Bible.”


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A THREE-LEGGED STOOL

A Three-Legged Stool

All expositional preaching rests on a three-legged theological stool, 1) exegetical theology, 2) biblical theology, and 3) pericopal theology. These three legs are all necessary for expository preaching.

FIRST LEG: EXEGETICAL THEOLOGY

In 1981, Walter Kaiser sounded a grim warning about a growing crisis in evangelical preaching. The crisis has only grown worse since he warned us about it 40 years ago. The crisis in evangelical preaching is the loss of exegetical theology as a foundation for our sermons.[1]


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ISAIAH 55:11 PREACHERS

ISAIAH 55:11 PREACHERS

“No one knows the Bible today, so talking about the Bible is boring to people.”

“The Bible is not relevant to my daily life. Who cares what happened to Hosea?”

“Our world has changed, so we need sermons that relate to our changed world?”

“You have to preach about what people want to hear if you want to help them with what they need to know.”

“Why do you spend all that time in the exegesis of the text? All that work studying the Bible won’t help you understand the needs of people.”


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PREACHING TO MAKE DISCIPLES

SHOCKING STAT: Less than 10% of evangelical sermons mentioned the words sin, salvation, heaven, or hell!

The statistic comes from a database of almost 50,000 sermons compiled by the Pew Research Center, which were delivered between April 7 and June 1, 2019.[i] Much evangelical preaching today identifies human needs and proclaims Christ as a need-fulfiller. It is a man-centered gospel. Bill Hull nicknamed it “gospel Americana.”[ii] The message is simple. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” The result of such a reductionist message is that many people become converts who want no part of the demands of being a disciple.[iii]


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