Do you know how your understanding of preaching has been shaped in recent centuries by the Pietists, the Revivalists, the Liberals, the Pragmatists and the Consumerists? If you don’t, you need to because these influences are shaping the crisis of preaching in the church today. That’s why this message by Al Mohler deserves a wide, wide hearing. It is 21st Christian preaching and its origins 101.
The frightening reality today is that preaching has metamorphosized into many different forms, and we are therefore required to differentiate these unbiblical forms from true biblical preaching, and to do that we label biblical preaching as “expository” preaching. And sadly, expository preaching is far from the norm in the church today, and it’s no wonder given the contented widespread biblical ignorance we see in the Christian church.
Mohler is a champion for expository preaching, and in this message he carefully and wisely considers the many arguments given by opponents of expository preaching, and examines how each of these historically developed from bad, and even shocking theology. Hence his provocative title. This should be required listening for your leaders and discipleship groups, if not your whole church.
By the way, if you haven’t listened to any of the messages at the 9 Marks at SBTS conference you are missing a real treat.
Here’s the sermon that often doesn’t get Paul Washer invited back. And no, it’s not because he’s boring. Washer preaches with clarity and passion. The reason Washer has caused such an uproar in some places is because he makes a frontal attack on some of Evangelicalism’s most sacred cows: Assurance of Salvation, and sincerity in “making a decision” for Christ.
Washer pulls no punches. Nor does he just attack for the sake of attack. He attacks these forms of Evangelical religion like a surgeon attacking a cancer. He dissects and explains.
Washer rails against how Evangelicals are so quick to proclaim people ‘believers’. One of the most damnable practices in the church is when a person doubts their salvation, they are usually taken back to that day when they “made a decision” for Christ and “asked Jesus into their hearts”, neither of which are statements found in Scripture (apart from a poor hermeneutic). We are often guilty of giving people a false assurance that is based more on the ‘sincerity’ of their decision than on the presence of a transformed life. Washer claims this tactic sends countless people to hell. At the very point that a person may be coming to Christ with a legitimate doubt about salvation, we kill off that work with a sloppy proclaimation of false salvation.
Washer broadsides contemporary evangelistic practices, including child evangelism and Sunday School programs. He says he would not put his children in 80% of the Sunday school programs, because the gospel presentations we give to children are so seriously distorted they border on heresy.
This message needs to be preached to every church in America. The congregations response would serve as a good litmus test of spiritual health.