Christian Apologetics Defined

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classicaltheistClassicalTheist

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Theology? Philosophy? What Do They Have to Do With Real Preaching?

Theology? Philosophy? What Do They Have to Do With Real Preaching?

What is preaching and why do we do it? Many are the articles, books and lectures dealing with the practice of preaching. In fact, I’ve written a few articles myself and delivered quite a few lectures concerning various aspects of preparation and delivery. A lot of ink has also been spilled concerning foundational elements, but such is less exciting (or profitable).

However, none of our practical advice or vocational effort will be of much significance if we are not right and resolved when it comes to our underlying convictions. That’s why I decided to write a short (hopefully readable) piece on the theology and philosophy of preaching.

First, what do I mean by those terms? Our theology of preaching is what we believe the Bible says about preaching. Our philosophy has to do with how those beliefs are fleshed out in the real world—how we put our beliefs into practice.

Theology

Since this is a brief article, let me give five basic and foundational truths I believe the Bible teaches about preaching.

1. Preaching is biblical. In both the Old and New Testaments, preaching of some kind is God’s primary means of declaring His words and His will. The Old Testament words for “prophet” and “prophecy” (nabi and nebuah, respectively) come from the root for “bubble up” or “boil over.” The idea is that the words of God pour forth from the mouth of the prophet.
The rarer word, nathaph—translated “to preach”—has as its root the idea of “dropping” words in the direction of something or someone (see Ezekiel 20:46; 21:2). The New Testament is replete with preaching, using such words as kerusso (to proclaim or announce), katangello (to announce news), euangellizo (to announce good news), and parresiazomai (to speak boldly).

2. The Word of God is the content of preaching. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul solemnly charges Timothy to “preach the word!”

3. Preaching should be Christ-centered. Comparing himself with other preachers, Paul said to the Corinthian church that his preaching was not filled with “plausible words of wisdom,” but he had resolved to “know nothing … except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1–5). He later affirmed that the message he delivered “as of first importance” was nothing other than the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1–5).

4. Preaching should endeavor to glorify God. Not only do we see throughout Scripture that everything should be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), but Paul actually says that the message of Christ is “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11). If we are preaching the Gospel, the ultimate end is that God will be glorified.

5. Preaching is a spiritual endeavor. Paul said that the Gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). He also said that he preached the Gospel “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5), and in Ephesians 6, he requested prayer “that the words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”

Philosophy

Based on this theology of preaching, we can develop a philosophy of preaching. In other words, we can come to some conclusions about how preaching ought to be practiced based on what the Bible says about it.

1. Because preaching is biblical, it is essential to the church. This means that preaching must be practiced in the church. Moreover, because preaching is so central to the proclamation of the Gospel and the glory of God, it should be the primary driver and focal point of Christian worship. We can practice this when we give preaching its proper place in our gatherings.

2. Because the Word of God is the content of preaching, expository preaching is best. I define “expository preaching” as the contextual proclamation of a text within its context. Every sermon must be grounded in a biblical passage, and the original meaning of that passage must be proclaimed, explained and applied. Any preaching not derived from a biblical passage will not carry the power and the authority of God’s Word.

3. Because preaching should be Christ-centered, all preaching should be Gospel preaching. This does not mean that every sermon needs to be from a passage that explains the Gospel, but every passage must be preached in light of the crucified and risen Christ. We do not preach good works or good advice. Even when calling our people to obedience and righteousness, we must do so as we announce the good news of the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

4. Because preaching should endeavor to glorify God, God must be magnified. God, not man, must be the hero of every sermon. We need to tell people about God, and we need to do so rightly so that He is shown to be glorious in all His attributes.

5. Because preaching is a spiritual endeavor, the preacher must walk in the Spirit. We must walk with God ourselves, and we must bathe the whole work of preaching—from conception to preparation to delivery—in prayer. And then when we stand to preach, we must trust the Holy Spirit to accomplish the work of the preached word.

by Mike Miller

FBCKenner.org
Mike Miller is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Kenner, LA (New Orleans metro area). He is Campus Pastor and Associate Professor of Expository Preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Formerly, he was a corporate jet pilot. He has an MDiv with Biblical Languages, DMin in Expository Preaching, Thm, and PhD in Preaching. He is also married with 3 kids.

Thankfulness ~ a Necessary Duty

Thankfulness1Below is a sermon from our founding, by George Whitefield.  We do not have Pastors, Priests, or Ministers of this caliber anymore…or very few. Most seem to be in super sized churches who have lost the meaning because they are so stuck on the object of becoming bigger and more economically powerful that many of the congregation become lost or are used as pawns. Read it, if you will, and let it speak to your heart!

Godspeed and God Bless you all!

Thankfulness-for-Mercies-Received-a-Necessary-Duty

Prayer (cont.)

prayer

 The Lord’s Prayer was simply put and example of how to pray.  Matthew 6:9 Jesus stated “This, then, is how you should pray” an example of how to, not always pray these words.  The reason being, God wants to hear you pray the thanks and praise, the desires of your heart, the hurt and sorrow that resides within, the desire for guidance, and the blessings you give to others.  God also desires you to do so in seclusion or away from others.  All too many people believe their prayers will be heard over others because they are so boisterous, or use big $64,000 words, or due to the fact that they use so many words.  Might I suggest that you just keep it simple, to the point, and humble?

I was born into the Roman Catholic faith and I had a great many problems understanding what was going on.  I am not one to just blindly follow and I especially had a problem with the Priests essentially scaring me from ever reading the bible.  One Priest essentially told us we were too stupid to understand it.  I had to wonder, was God so harsh a creator that God didn’t want we little people to read and understand the word left to man?   Were we to just blindly follow whatever the Priest told us?  (That did not sit well with me.)  There were plenty of people I know that did not have those problems I had, growing up.  God uses everyone to accomplish all things.  Consider Judas – he had a part in God’s plan.  Later in life, I converted to Pentecostal, but had some issues there with both dogma, doctrine, and the church leadership acting in a way contrary to the tenets of the bible.  I claim no religion, because each religion, despite what is stated, tends to follow doctrine or dogma rather than the biblical dictates.  It is not a religion you seek, but rather a relationship with God.  This is one reason I always say you must be willing to test & question your faith and be willing to change it in light of new information, within the context of the bible.  Always question what others tell you are stated in the bible and you MUST, MUST, MUST always research it.  I have heard many say that “God helps those who help themselves” was in the bible, but it is spoken in the Bhagavad Gita.  Apparently, they just accepted what someone else had told them.

If you always pray the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary’s, etc. what exactly are you doing?  What exactly are you asking of God?  Praying in such a way (and I mean no disrespect as this is my opinion – God gave us those, too!) becomes more of an indoctrinated faith and a robotic exercise, or “babbling like pagans” or as the “hypocrites”. [Matt 6:5-7]  God knows all that you need before you even ask of it. 

You can pray anytime and you can pray all of the time, just keep God centered in your heart!  In doing so, your life will become God centered.

Godspeed & God bless my friends!