"Our concerning truth is an invevitable expression of our concern with God. Not to care about truth is not to care about God." John Piper.
To know the truth about the Word of God has become a "passion" with me. A John Piper word. But the desire to know the truth about the Word, came by listening to John MacArthur. Learning the truth from these two men, I have been challenged. I have read and heard John MacArthur preach for over 26 years so I do know a little about what he teaches. As for Piper, it's been only in the last few years. MacArthur seems to have an authoratative manner of teaching the word, and Piper wants to teach the Word "passionately." Hmmm.
Let me get back to yesterday's post. "The importance of being "TRUTH-DRIVEN".
Having graduated from Seminary in 1969 I believed I was really ready to reach the World with the Gospel. Drawing upon all my knowledge and experience I started out in the ministry of preaching the Gospel in the local church. From 1970 to 1982 I had the privilege of working in several churches. In those years I was a rather good independent fundamental Baptist preacher.
The problem happened in 1983 when I traveled to Sun Valley, Calif. to attend the Shepherd's Conference, Grace Community Church, with John MacArthur and Staff. My thinking about preaching, ministry and the Bible changed for ever.
Returning back to Altoona, Kansas, my flight was delayed in the Denver Airport in Colorado. I bought a book at the Shepherd's Conference titled "Toward Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis For Preaching and Teachng" by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
I read the entire book of 250 pages while delayed in the Denver Airport. I called Charity to tell her I was delayed in Denver, and to tell her I was very very mad. "Charity, I have just learned I do not know how to preach or how to really build a sermon from scratch."
At the Shepherd's Conference I was introducedto the idea of Expository Messages. What was that! That's not what I knew as fundamental Baptist preaching.
"I have preached my share of forgettable sermons. I know the agony of preparing a message and then having preached it, feeling that I knew naked nothing about the preaching art. " Haddon W. Robinson. I knew exactly what he was saying.
Fundamental Baptist Preaching as I had learned was nothing like exegetical preaching that was Biblical Truth Driven and Theologically Correct. Generally, I preached sermons that were ignorant of the content of the Scripture. (a general statement)
I did not understand that preaching was to be theologically correct, nor that it was necessary to preach from the text of Scripture. Preaching was to be different than teaching a Sunday School class. I could read Ironside, Spurgeon, Greene, DeHaan, and others' teaching. To me preaching was not to be theological, nor teaching the meaning of the text before me. It was to present the gospel to get someone saved.
(Footnote: I did not want to preach what was not bibical, of course)
Oh my, the more I read Kaiser's book, the more I was in crisis. I did not have the training, nor the tools to preach an expository sermon.
I was really embarrassed. I had been preaching a lot of "junk food." All kinds of artificial preservativess and all sorts of unnatural substitues. "But, but...", I said, "could Jack Hyles' sermons be "junk food?" After all, over 7,000 people hear him preach on Sunday. The sermons I preached sounded really good. I was loud, funny, entertaining, illustrated, sin-fighting, like any good Jack Hyles' Sermon.
Hyles Anderson College certainly did not teach expository preaching techniques. And you know that was the idea. Theologically correct preaching was not the purpose of preaching. The college is teaching the the same philosophy today.
Soul Winning, KJV, Separation, the Blood of Christ, the Second Coming. Topical sermons only. Hyles had 50 topical messages and put scriptures with them.
This is the norm today in many churches. Preaching is not to be teaching. Preaching is not to be theological. Preaching is to be light, clear, simple, and gospel in content.
I believed in those days, that to enter the pulpit with the power of the Holy Spirit was not necessarily in the content of the message, but in the form of how you preached the message.
I always had this nagging discontent with this style of preaching, but when you are taught this method from youth, and in Bible colleges you believe it's the biblical way to preach.
The Shepherd's Conference replaced the Sword of the Lord's Conferences, and the Southwide Bible Conferences, and the Pastor's School, and from 1983 the new process of preaching began.
In the next post I will address this process of changing my style of preaching.
Charles E. Whisnant