Al Mohler on “Why Expositional Preaching is a Bad Idea”

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.

Why Expositional Preaching is a Bad Idea —

Audio >>>

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Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology 2009

John MacArthur and Bruce Ware join Bryon Yawn at the 2009 Nashville Conference.

Right off the bat MacArthur delivers some of the best messages I’ve heard this year.  He begins in session one by reflecting over the core convictions of his ministry that he formed early on and have not let go of since.  These convictions happen to be Trinitarian:  The Glory of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.

There is so much to talk about regarding his messages.  But perhaps the most needed, is he relates the story of when he met a ministry friend who told him about this incredible book about how IBM was structured, and why pastors needed these lessons.  MacArthur asked this man, “Why, is the Word of God deficient somewhere?”

MacArthur also talks about why he does church discipline.  Again, early in his ministry other pastors told him he would empty his church.  It never happened. If you are a church planter or pastor who buys a lot of contemporary books on how to “do church” you need to listen to a pastor who saw God build His church apart from all the books, programs, polls, and expert opinions.  Listening to MacArthur is like a breath of fresh air in a day when the church looks more to Starbucks for it’s ecclesiology than it does the Apostle Paul.

Above Every Name pt. 1, John MacArthur

Above Every Name pt. 2, John MacArthur

Above Every Name pt. 3, John MacArthur

Beholding the God of Merciful Holiness; Transcendence, Immanence & Ministry, Bruce Ware

An Overwhelming Greatness, Bryon Yawn

Beholding the God of Self-Sufficient Fullness; Humility, Satisfaction & Ministry, Bruce Ware

Beholding the God of Sovereign Supremacy; Good, Evil & Ministry, Bruce Ware

Slaves of Christ, John MacArthur

NCCT 09 >>>

Christians and Culture with Ken Myers

I usually groan when I hear the words ‘Christian’ and ‘culture’ used in the same sentence.  But in the mind of Ken Myers it actually makes sense, and makes sense biblically, because he rejects the churches attempts at popular contextualization.  Mark Dever interviews the fascinating Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio.  There was so much information packed into this interview that I’ve had to listen to it twice, and it was such a joy the second time around.

Ken talks about his education, his work at NPR, and how Mars Hill Audio came to be, and what it’s focus is.

Ken  begins by saying that the difficulty in talking about culture is that we don’t know where to start; we don’t have a good framework to know how to tackle it. There are many who have attempted to adapt to the culture by introducing media, entertainment and appealing to a consumer culture, such as the Church Growth Movement, but they have not understood the dangers that they present.  And from a historical perspective now, those dangers have taken hold of those churches.  Most would agree that contemporary society is confused overall, and it’s irresponsible to look to the world for models that we would structure the church around.

In fact, we have become Christian “choosers”, or “consumers” today, rather than becoming Christian disciples.  We treat church like a commodity, and we treat people like consumers, and our culture has conditioned us to fill those shoes.

In the church, Ken sees a problem developing in the intellectual life of the church.  Pastors are taking cues from the dumbed-down pop Christian culture, while Christians are reading at a far lower caliber books than they did 30 years ago.  Today the demand for discernment is greater than it ever has been, and we are generally very ill-equipped for any kind of useful discernment.

Ken also talks about how Christianity has become more American than Christian, which is something that’s been happening for a long time.  There has been the temptation for the Christian church to be the “chaplaincy” for the American project.  Secular people have defined what the American project is, and the church is there to bless it.  Yet, in the other direction, Ken is disappointed in the efforts of the Right Wing to engineer a Christian culture into society via a political machine that has consumed billions of dollars.  He observes that there is only so much we can do that society will allow.

Given our media hungry culture, Ken says we as Christians must be skilled in the use of language.  God has revealed himself to our age through words and language. And we ought to be conversant in poetry, prose and language arts.

Ken talks about things that define how our culture operates and thinks, from “optionalities” (having the freedom of unlimited options) to the danger of informality. We have also lost formal rhetorical speech, and we are one of the only cultures that have lost this formal register of speech, because we have developed a suspicion of authority.  And this has application to churches who seek to contextualize themselves and their message to this culture.  Can we contextualize to a cultural that prizes informality because it rejects authority?  Are our church values of informality encouarging further rejection of authority?  These are serious questions that we need to be thinking about.

Here’s a Bibliography of books and articles mentioned in the interview:

Nicholas Carr’s Atlantic Monthly Article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Books by Mortimer Adler, John Stott, Carl F. H. Henry

Knowing God, by J. I. Packer

Mediated, by Thomas De Zengotita

Mark Edmundsons article from Harper’s Magazine, “On the Uses of a Liberal Education

Why Read?, by Mark Edmundson

All Gods Children and Blue Suede Shoes, by Ken Myers

The Democratization of American Christianity, by Nathan Hatch

Foolishness to the Greeks, by Lesli Newbigin

Doing Our Own Thing, by John McWhorter

The Gravedigger Files, by Os Guinness

The Death of Character, by James Davison Hunter

Anything by David Wells

Technopoly, by Neil Postman

Culture Making, by Andy Crouch

This is a fabulous interview filled and will raise your level of Christian awareness.

Christians and Culture >>>

Christless Christianity

Michael Horton raises an alarm about the condition of our churches and the youth who are following us, as he discusses his book Christless Christianity on Christ the Center.  Horton clearly explains the gospel understanding and basic theological position of the average evangelical American who attends church.  Quite frankly it’s frightening.

Christless Christianity >>>

Carson and Driscoll at Xenos

The 2008 Xenos Summer Institute conference this year was titled “True to the Word, True to Our Mission” and most of the messages are in response to the Emergent Church movement. Don Carson, Mark Driscoll and many others were involved in this conference, which was held this past July.

Both Carson and Driscoll bring well informed backgrounds to bear on the dangers of the Emergent church.

Don Carson has studied this movement extensively, and his book Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church is one of the best overviews to the causes, challenges and effects of the Emergent church.

Mark Driscoll began as one of the leading Emergent church leaders, beginning Mars Hill Church under that banner, but  has since separated himself from the more destructive elements of this movement, and has become one of it’s strongest critics.

Don and Mark’s messages provide  a good perspective on this movement, both pro and con. In spite of  this movement appearing to be dying a rapid death, there are a lot of lessons the church can learn  in it’s wake.

Don Carson’s messages:

Evaluating a Complex Movement mp3 >>>

A Biblical Meditation on Experience & Truth mp3 >>>

Mark Driscoll’s messages:

How the Local Church can reach our Postmodern Culture mp3 >>>

A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church mp3 >>>


David Wells talks about his book The Courage to Be Protestant

Al Mohler interviews David Wells on his radio program.  Dr. Wells talks about his latest important book, ‘The Courage to Be Protestant’, and what motivated this work. The Courage to Be Protestant is a summary of his four amazing books beginning with ‘No Place for Truth.’  This is one book every Christian should read and consider.  Wells and Mohler talk about the non-doctrinal nature of the church today, the loss of an informed evangelicalism, and the destructive nature of marketing methodologies.

David Wells interviewd by Al Mohler page >>>

Equipped to Serve, with D. A. Carson

Carson’s three lectures and Q&A looks at a few passages in Paul’s pastorals to Timothy about equipping believers to serve the Gospel.  In true Carson fashion, Don brings a clear eye to some difficult subjects such as women in ministry, the emergent church, qualifications of elders, honest minstry work, among many other subjects.  This is a gem of a series.

Delivered to the Yorkshire Gospel Partnership in 2006.

2006 Equipped to Serve >>>

Insight into a Pastor’s Heart with John MacArthur

MacArthur recently gave an excellent 3 message series on what a Pastor is supposed to be, what he is supposed to be committed to, and what he’s supposed to do. This is a rewarding series that reminds what a pastor is called for.

Insight into a Pastor’s Heart Part 1 >>>
Insight into a Pastor’s Heart Part 2 >>>
Insight into a Pastor’s Heart Part 2b >>>

New Attitude 2006 Conference on MP3

 New Attitude Conferences are brought by Joshua Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Sovereign Grace Ministries. They are geared toward singles and young married couples, but relevant to all ages.

Aside from the usual NA suspects, Mark Dever, Mike Bullmore, Bruce Ware and Al Mohler joined the ranks as they rallied under the banner of ‘Humble Orthodoxy.’ 

Having just published his excellent two volume Bible survey ‘Promises Made’ and ‘Promises Kept’, Mark Dever brings a message ‘The Story: Understanding the Story line of the Bible.’  Justin Taylor weighs in with a very good analysis of the Emerging church movement.  Al Mohler draws us to consider ‘Cultural Discernment from a Biblical Worldview.’

One of my big surprises was being introduced to Mike Bullmore.  Bullmore brought two excellent messages, one about applying the Gospel to all of life, and a second about feeding on God’s Word.  I hope to see more from this pastor of Crossway Community Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Sovereign Grace store is offering the entire MP3 set on CD for a great price>>>