[amazon 0802454895 thumbnail] I’ve just finished reading Albert Mohler’s “[amazon 0802454895 inline]”. If you want to do it quickly it is a quick and easy read; but a necessary and hard one – especially for preachers.
In ten pithy chapters Dr. Mohler takes you through the state of preaching today which he characterizes in the preface with Dicken’s famous opening line, “It was the best of times and the worst of times…” Such, claims Mohler, is the state of preaching today.
I concur. I rarely leave my own pulpit and yet when I do for purposes of travel or vacation I used always to labor endlessly in prayer and concern over the man who would fill my pulpit while I am gone. Indeed the apparent scarcity of quality pulpit fill keeps me grounded. Thankfully God has raised up a number of men in my own congregation who are qualified and capable of preaching or teaching a Christ honoring, word centered message! Praise the Lord for that grace!
Mohler goes on to sum up the state of preaching with a diagnosis,
…Contemporary preaching suffers from a loss of confidence in the power of the word…suffers from an infatuation with technology… suffers from an embarrassment before the biblical text… suffers from an emptying of biblical content…suffers from a focus on felt needs… [and] suffers from an absence of the gospel.
His indictment is not backed up endlessly but through a few anecdotes and generalizations he states his case. Personally I find no reason to disagree with Dr. Mohler’s argument; but would have appreciated a few more
end notes foot notes to secure the matter.
Since I mentioned foot notes I feel the need to vent that there are none in this book. There are of course end-notes but I prefer the loving and appropriate placement of foot notes. They make referencing an author’s point a reality and in my opinion they encourage sound scholarship on behalf of the reader.
The remainder of the book, through it’s ten chapters attempts to rectify the wrongs cited in the preface and I think does so admirably. It is a popularist book and thus is not heavy on scholarly terms. But that does not mean it is light in content. To the contrary, Dr. Mohler’s arguments are consistently grounded in the scripture he exhorts pastors to proclaim with profundity and passion.
The Chapter list will have to suffice to whet your palate for the book:
- Preaching as Worship: The Heart of Christian Worship
- Authentic Worship Begins with a true vision of the Living God
- Authentic Worship Leads to Confession of Sin
- Authentic Worship Leads to a proclamation of the Gospel
- Authentic Worship demands a response
- The Ground of Preaching:Our Triune God
- Preaching is Expository: A Theology of Exposition
- Expository Preaching: Its Definition and Characteristics
Dr. Mohler pulls no punches in his passionate love for expository preaching which he defines as:
…That mode of Christian preaching that takes as it’s central purpose the presentation and application of the text of the Bible. All other issues and concerns are subordinated to the central task of presenting the biblical text. As the Word of God, the text of Scripture has the right to establish both the substance and the structure of the sermon. Genuine exposition takes place when the preacher sets forth the meaning and message of the biblical text and makes clear how the Word of God establishes the identity and worldview of the church as the people of God.
As definitions go, this one is rather rotund but Dr. Mohler takes you through each portion explaining it and in the end striving to convince you to think as He does regarding the function purpose and design of expository preaching. Having already been a believer before I read the chapter it did nothing to convince me but did everything to convince my that my convictions were sound.
- A Steward of Mysteries: the Preacher’s Authority and Purpose
- “Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?”: Preaching the Bible’s Big Story
- The Pastor as Theologian: Preaching and Doctrine
- Stranger Than It Used to Be: Preaching to a Postmodern Culture
- The Urgency of Preaching: An Exhortation to Preachers
- On Preaching to Dry Bones: An Encouragement to Preachers
Wrap it up with a fitting Epilogue (an eleventh chapter in it’s own right) on Charles Spurgeon as a model preacher serves as a fine encouragement to today’s’ pastors to get busy about the task of Expository Preaching. Hear Hear Dr. Mohler!
Don’t let the outline fool you into thinking that you’ve grasped the book. Buy it, Read it, contemplate it and let it penetrate your soul. If you’re a pastor buy it. If you’re a parishioner, buy it for your pastor.
Now pardon me I have several passages to finish studying for several messages this week.