Tag Archives: preach
For years church leaders tried to convince us that being a hip, trendy, and relevant church was the key to doing church right. It was about professional bands, cool video graphics, and more ministry choices than you can fit on one bulletin page. But after many years and many failures even the well-respected church growth guru’s are admitting that it’s really about the preaching.
But not just any preaching. The trendy “talks” that cite one Bible verse then shares stories, jokes, and illustrations for 40 minutes are also failing. What people are really looking for is teaching from the Bible that expounds the Scriptures and connects them with daily life. In other words, expository preaching. What exactly is expository preaching?
You see the doctrines of election and predestination don’t eliminate the preaching of the Gospel or evangelism because those are the only means by which any person can be saved. And since, as Keller points out, no one knows who is and who is not part of the elect, we have a responsibility to preach the Gospel to “all men.” It is not surprising that the Bible calls “all men” to repentance on many occasions. We see the Apostles in the New Testament often preaching to large groups of people and calling them to repent and be saved. And on many occasions Jesus preached to large crowds. More than once we read of many people being saved, but not all. But at every opportunity all were called to repentance and no one was singled out as part of the elect.
There is much confusion and misinformation in our world about what the Gospel is. Some people think the Gospel is doing good things, living “right” (whatever that means), or going to church once in a while. Many Americans believe that being born in America or in a particular part of the country is enough “Gospel” to save someone. And other, well meaning “church people” would say that the Gospel is doing good deeds as a form of “servant evangelism.”
Still, there’s those pesky mega-preachers that claim to know Jesus and say that the Gospel is loving people. All you gotta do is flash a perfectly white smile, say some fluffy, inspiring cliché’s and, voila, Jesus.
None of this is the Gospel. So the question remains, what is the Gospel?
How would you answer the question “What is the church?”
This question might evoke answers ranging from a building with a steeple on top to a group of people that come together to worship Jesus. Whatever your answer might be there is a chance that you have not thought through the depth and intricacies of all that the church is.
The doctrine of the church, called Ecclesiology, is a foundational and yet often neglected aspect of biblical doctrine. Ecclesiology shapes everything from the leadership of the church to the way we live out our purpose each and every week. Knowing how central Ecclesiology is to the purpose and function of the church it is unfortunate that so many established churches have not given considerable attention to this critical doctrine.
In a recent post, blogger Ed Stetzer writes that Ecclesiology “must bear a great deal of theological weight” due to its importance in shaping the church.
I was struck by the juxtaposition of two article recently. One discussed the “effective things churches do well,” while the other detailed the “internal barriers to growth in a church.” What makes these two articles so interesting is their relationship to one another.
The things one church does well, resulting in growth, is often the same thing another church does poorly, resulting in declining attendance. For this reason church leaders ought to make it a point to pay attention to their cultural context in order to determine what things need done, what needs changed, and the difference between the two.
Let’s look at several examples:
As my church prepares to begin walking through the book of Ecclesiastes on Sunday mornings, I am already reminded of Solomon’s oft-repeated phrase: “There’s nothing new under the sun.”
That phrase comes to mind as I read the results of a recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research for Ligonier Ministries concerning the theological beliefs of evangelical Christians. These views, heretical at best, show the lack of theological training and how it has caused a host of ancient heresies to resurface today.
Here is a list of some of the troubling statistics:
I’m a major advocate of pastors talking about “politics” from the pulpit. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a pastor, or that I’m a political junky. It has to do with my belief that at the core of every Christian is a theology that orders his or her worldview. That worldview dictates daily actions and interactions. For this reason it is critical that pastors address “political issues” from the pulpit.
Now, I want to make sure we are on the same page. When I say “political issues” I don’t mean that pastors should talk about the IRS, or the FCC, or whether our current foreign policy is working, or the state of our military. Those are not the “political” issues I have in mind.
When I say pastors should discuss political issues from the pulpit I am referring to issues that are, in fact, biblical moral issues that have been hijacked by our highly politicized culture.
Issues such as abortion, marriage, sexuality, and gender roles are not political issues; these issues are biblical moral issues that demand attention, clear communication, and biblical grounding.