The church has exchanged her preaching birthright for a watered-down stew of PowerPoint presentations, drama, methods, slide shows, movie clips, felt needs, psychology, techniques, and programs that are designed to fill the pews. This “stew” will not fill the person in the pew with hygienic, sound, meaty doctrine, which is critical for healthy Christian living. We need men at our sacred desks today who will not apologize for cutting the Word of truth straightly, in context, with boldness, directed at the heart, and carefully exegeted. The world may deem these men of God “dinosaurs,” “obscurantists,” “sheltered,” “cave dwellers,” or “troglodytes,” but the Judge of the living and of the dead will call them “blessed” and “obedient servants.”
Preaching is the issue, not just any kind of preaching, but preaching that will rescue the lethargic church. It is the premise of this book that, if pastors would preach as Jesus did, their churches would flourish spiritually and God would be honored. If laypeople and congregations would rise up and demand Christ-like preaching from their pulpits, the church would immediately begin to shake off her lethargy and start on the path of full recovery. She would then begin to reach out with evangelism, because healthy sheep reproduce.*
Walter C. Kaiser Jr.:
It is no secret that Christ’s Church is not at all in good health in many places of the world. She has been languishing because she has been fed … “junk food” … The Biblical text is often no more than a slogan or refrain in the message … Biblical exposition has become a lost art in contemporary preaching … American parishioners … are often rewarded with more or less of the same treatment: repetitious arrangements of the most elementary truths of the faith … Where is that sense of authority and mission previously associated with the Biblical Word?*
What you win them with is what you win them to. Preaching is God’s way of proclaiming the foolishness of the gospel to the weak and despised, all to His own glory. The world will always despise preaching, but when the church likewise questions God’s wisdom and starts using alternatives, a major problem exists.*
The main objective of preaching is to expound Scripture so faithfully and relevantly that Jesus Christ is perceived in all his adequacy to meet human need. The true preacher is a witness; he is incessantly testifying to Christ.*
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote: ‘The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others’ (2:2; emphasis supplied). He further urged the church not to be hasty in ordaining men to the gospel ministry before they had undergone ministerial trial (1 Tim. 5:22), insisting in Titus 1:4–2:1 that along with the other requirements essential to the teaching eldership (see 1 Tim. 3:1–7; Tit. 1:5–9) he who would be a pastor/teacher must be ‘able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict’ his teaching (Tit. 1:9; emphasis supplied). Clearly, the great apostle mandates a theologically articulate ministry for the church.
The responsibility to prepare himself theologically through rigorous study is as great for both the man already in and the man aspiring to the ministry today as it was in Paul’s day—perhaps even greater; for while it is true that today he can ‘stand on the shoulders’, so to speak, of twenty previous centuries of Spirit-wrought insight into the Holy Scriptures, not only is he faced today with the ever-increasing avalanche of secular humanism in a world whose unbelieving population is even more numerous now than there were even people in the world when our Lord first issued his Great Commission two thousand years ago, but also he must combat within the church, in addition to the many ancient heresies which still abound on every hand, the myriad new forms of overt and covert opposition to the true teaching of Scripture.
It is absolutely essential that the church of our generation train a vast contingent of qualified men who will be able to draw from the Scriptures, through the best canons of exegesis and hermeneutics, what the Bible teaches and to proclaim and to apply that teaching powerfully and winsomely to the present condition.*
A mutilated gospel produces mutilated lives, and mutilated lives are positive evils. Whatever the preacher may do, [his] hearers will not do without a system of belief; and in their attempt to frame one for the government of their lives out of the fragments of truth which [the indifferent] preacher will grant them, is it any wonder if they should go fatally astray?… it is not given to one who stands in the pulpit to decide whether or no he shall teach, whether or no he shall communicate to others a system of belief which will form lives and determine destinies. It is in his power only to determine what he shall teach, what system of doctrine he shall press upon the acceptance of men; by what body of tenets he will seek to mold their lives and to inform their devotions.… And this is but another way of saying that the systematic study of divine truth … is the most indispensable preparation for the pulpit. Only as the several truths to be presented are known in their relations can they be proclaimed in their right proportions and so taught as to produce their right effects on the soul’s life and growth.*
*Abendroth, M. (2008). Jesus Christ: The Prince of Preachers: Learning from the Teaching Ministry of Jesus (14–15). Leominster: Day One.
*Cited in: Abendroth, M. (2008). Jesus Christ: The Prince of Preachers: Learning from the Teaching Ministry of Jesus (14). Leominster: Day One.
*Abendroth, M. (2008). Jesus Christ: The Prince of Preachers: Learning from the Teaching Ministry of Jesus (4). Leominster: Day One.
*Stott, John R. W. (1994-01-01). Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today (p. 325). Eerdmans Publishing Co – A. Kindle Edition.