Why Expositional Preaching? (Part 1)
This is the first post in our “Why do we…?” series. We certainly do not expect these posts to answer all possible questions, but we do hope to initiate some good conversation within the congregation.
Why do we preach through books of the Bible?
Midtown Baptist Church started officially holding services in September 2011. Our first sermon series was on 1 Thessalonians. After the Christmas season that year, we worked through 2 Thessalonians. And since February 2012, we have been in the Gospel of Mark. Three sermon series through books of the Bible. in roughly 16 months. That is not the normal pattern in the church planting world.
Typically, in the early life of a church plant, you might expect to hear a series on evangelism or a series on the mission statement of the church. Those are certainly helpful ideas that would make for profitable sermons! Then, why don’t we do that at Midtown Baptist? Why the focus on preaching through books of the Bible? What benefit does that add to our church? Wouldn’t other more topically-oriented series be practical? I hope to answer some of these questions.
Our Preaching Philosophy
At Midtown Baptist Church, our preaching philosophy is really quite simple. We aim to make it our regular practice to preach consecutively through books of the Bible, letting the point of the passage be the point of our message. This approach is called expositional preaching.
In the past, this was the regular practice of most churches. Pastors spent their time studying particular books and then preaching through those books. However, over the last several decades, this practice has fallen on hard times. More and more churches are shifting away from expositional preaching and focusing more on topical messages. On one level, I understand the reasoning. The modern world is a complex place, and many pastors are convinced that the most helpful way to shepherd the congregation is by addressing practical issues head on.
But on another level, this has been an unfortunate development. By focusing on particular topics, churches have lost sight of the depth and variety of teaching to be found in the Scriptures. Even more sobering, by turning away from expositional preaching, many churches have removed the Word of God as the functional authority in the life of the church. The authority of Scripture may be affirmed in the doctrinal statement, but it is denied in the pulpit.
By God’s grace, we hope to swim against this current, and not simply because we want to be different and certainly not because we think more highly of ourselves than others. There are a number of reasons for this preaching philosophy, and tomorrow’s post will discuss those reasons.