Saturday, March 26, 2011

Correcting Unbiblical Preaching

"Disturbed" would be an appropriate word; "disheartened", too.  You know that moment when you realize that what you thought was going to happen, what was going to come out of someone's mouth, simply didn't?  I've replayed the whole episode over in my head a few different times over this past week, even dialoguing with Michael & a couple of friends.  I truly don't understand what went wrong, or - more specifically - why it went so wrong.

Expositional preaching is vital to the health of the church.  Stay with me; you'll see where I'm going.  When a pastor preaches expositionally, he has to deal with a particular text; he can't just land on a topic "by the Spirit's guiding" & then pick out texts that fit his "sermon".  For example, our pastor is preaching through Galatians, verse by verse.  He brings out Scriptures from all over the Bible that shed light on the passage he's preaching, but he doesn't have the option of skipping around.  This keeps the pastor - who is a fallible man - from preaching only the "fun" parts of God's Word or from preaching out of context, & thus distorting the true meaning.  In short, it protects God's people because they're getting all of God's Word - even the uncomfortable parts.

However, when you listen to a pastor who doesn't preach expositionally, as we did last week, you're likely to end up with erroneous "messages from God".  Messages such as:

     -"Don't ask your pastor to pray for you; God tells you to do the praying!";
     -"When Satan comes to your house, tell him to go away, he can't have your family!  In the OT God says that He will fight for His people, but in the NT, He tells us to do it.";
     -"God is waiting to give you what you want!  You just have to pray for it!"

Point by point,
     -James 5:16 exhorts us to pray for each other, which includes pastors;
     -Our sin - not Satan - destroys our families, & Romans 8:13 commands us to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit, not our own willpower or driving away the devil.  Furthermore, when James tells believers to "resist the devil", it's in the context of submitting ourselves to God; &
     -The gifts that God bestows upon us are in His wisdom & will, as are any gifts that He chooses to withhold or take away.  My first thought (if the above assertion were true) was, "I prayed for Ginger not to die, & she did.  Does that mean that I didn't pray hard enough, wasn't faithful enough, or maybe that God isn't good after all & doesn't love me?"  Of course, none of these are true, but that's the rabbit hole we're in danger of falling down if we believe such nonsense.

Unbiblical teaching is damaging & damning, all the more so because texts that are chosen willy-nilly seem to "prove" the pastor's point.  Of note is the fact that these messages are generally altogether devoid of the mention of Christ & His atoning death, as is any allusion to our sin that required His death.  On the other hand, teaching that is true to Scripture is healing & leads to salvation (Rom. 10:17).  It is robust, proclaiming us to be sinners deserving of God's wrath, but graciously spared & counted righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ.  It's up to us to be discerning enough to tell the two apart.  Not all that claim to be from God actually are.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post...I liked how you addressed each of the examples with Scripture to make the defense for expository preaching. Hope you enjoy this Sunday's preaching through the Book of Galatians!

The Boyds said...

Thanks for your encouragement, Elizabeth! Today's sermon was really good, just what I needed to hear, even though I didn't realize it. Hope y'all have a wonderfully edifying Lord's Day as well!