Matthew R. Perry

“You’re An Expository Preacher? Ohhh!” Part IV

In Preaching, Uncategorized on February 12, 2007 at 4:21 pm

You Take the Scriptures as a Whole Rather Than as Fodder for Prooftexts

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood (Acts 20:26-28, ESV).

Pastor Topica sits in his office on Monday morning contemplating about the following Sunday. He is a Southern Baptist pastor, which means that he will likely have a special emphasis Sunday. New Year’s, Racial Reconciliation Sunday, Sanctity of Life Sunday, Missions Emphases, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Labor Day, Seminary Appreciation Sunday, and the list goes on. This Sunday happens to be Sanctity of Life Sunday.

Being a faithful follower of Christ, he also holds strongly to the sanctity of life. He believes we should defend the unborn, that embryonic stem cell research should not be an option, that we should take care of the elderly — and its something he feels passionately about. He has a tremendous message.

Now all he needs are the Scriptures to support the message.

Granted, this is an exaggerated case — or is it? It reminds me of the one-box cartoon where the preacher is in his study who prays, “Lord, please give me a message to go with this great illustration!” How often do ministers all over the world sit in their study with a passion for a particular topic — and use the Scriptures simply to mine out Scriptures as fodder for prooftexts to give ‘support’ to their message.

Is there anything inherently wrong with this method? Am I saying that anyone who does this on a regular basis is immoral and unfit for the pulpit ministry?

Uh … no.

What I am asking is that the Scriptures be the springboard of our sermons rather than our pet topic being the springboard, relegating the Scriptures as simply the fodder to propel our agenda.

Soon, we will look at ways to spot whether you are guilty of this, and provide some helpful tools to turn the ship around in the right direction.

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