Posts Tagged 'exegesis'

Minstrels In The Pulpit


I’ve written previously about the need for serious biblical teaching from pulpits today. For too long, the church has been “entertained” by flashy showmen who have the stage presence of a Broadway performer and the speaking cadence of Muhammad Ali in his prime (you know, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”…).

The bottom line is this: there are too many minstrels in the pulpit today.

Call me a stoic legalist if you wish, but you can hardly distinguish the pulpit of the church from a stage in a nightclub these days. While the sheep are rolling in the aisle laughing at the minstrel’s latest joke (based on a movie he saw last night) or nodding their heads in agreement with the blatant scripture-twisting that goes unchallenged because of the lack of biblical astuteness in the pews, their souls continue to lack the very meat of the Word of God that can sustain them during perilous times.

I know, I know…the sheep are supposed to read the Word BEFORE they get to church, but since they rely SOLELY on the minstrel to “feed them”, they end up starving – and many of them don’t even know it.

I have become an ardent supporter of expository preaching, specifically because expository preaching is different from topical preaching in that it concentrates on a specific text and discusses topics covered therein. Conversely, topical preaching concentrates on a specific topic and references texts covering that (or those) topic(s).

There is nothing wrong with topical preaching, or even narrative storytelling for that matter – even Jesus spoke in parables when encountering those who couldn’t understand the clarity of His Gospel message. My concern, however, is that most minstrels use topical preaching or storytelling to support their flawed eisigesis (generally taking half a verse from various parts of the bible to support their personal philosophy) instead of exegeting the text by succinctly and objectively uncovering what God has already said about a matter.

I can hear the minstrel’s ardent supporters now:

“My pastor is relevant. He preaches on current events so that we can apply the Word in our daily lives”

So a pastor should preach a “relevant” sermon using popular movies as the foundation of his text so you can see the relevance of the Gospel in your everyday life?

“That deep preaching takes too long. Pastor says you don’t have to be deep to get the Word in your heart”

No, your pastor wants to entertain you and then get you out of the “sanctuary” because he has 2 more services he has to “preach”. He doesn’t want to “get too deep” because (in most cases) he can’t. He doesn’t want you to learn the Word so that you can be sustained by God alone, he wants you to get “just enough” so that he can sustain you from week to week. So rather than taking several months to walk through the Book of Job verse by verse, he introduces a new topic every Sunday and Wednesday (supported by 1 or 2 scriptures taken out of context).

“You gotta go to seminary to learn how to get deep like that, and pastor said that ‘seminary ain’t nothing but a cemetary’! Our spiritual daddy was called to ministry by Apostle Jones, and he speaks what God puts in his heart!”

No, your pastor has (yet again) puffed up his own “street credentials” by completely dismissing formal seminary study. While seminary attendance doesn’t make you “more holy”, it does school you in important aspects of study and structure of ministry service. In fact, courses like Homiletics, Hermeneutics, Apologetics, Systematic Theology and others are vital components of any teaching preachers experiences.

Tim Challis beautifully sums up the heart of expository preaching by stating (emphasis added):

Traditionally Protestant churches have focused on expository preaching in which pastors would seek to exposit the Word of God to their congregations. They would often preaching through a book of the Bible verse-by-verse, seeking to illuminate the words of the text to their congregation and then apply the Scripture to their lives. The greatest benefit to expository preaching is that it forces a pastor to open his heart before God and allow Scripture to change him. Every week he must dig deeply into the Bible to see what it truly says in a given passage. When research and exegesis is done properly, it is difficult to present false teachings.

Yeah, it’s hard to lie on God when His Word is clearly laid out for all to see.

Having said all of that, I present these videos to highlight a few sound expository preachers (I know, these videos are not as exciting as those of your local minstrel, but these teachers painstakenly present the core of the Word):

Are you still awake? Have you opened another tab and started cruising another blog while playing the videos above? Alright, alright – since you want to be entertained, here are a few minstrels to keep you awake:

Please note, I am not against reverently expressive worship sessions. I am, however, against empty emotionalism that comes from the pulpit. The lady sitting next to you in church can scream and roll all over the floor while singing Peaches & Herb’s classic hit “Reunited” all she wants – she’s not the elder who is accountable for the flock.

The elder, however must be soberly vigilant to ensure that he presents the mystery of the Gospel as though he will be accountable for the souls of the sheep in his care – because he will! An elder cannot rely on his “showmanship” to teach the word:

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (New American Standard Bible)

1And when I came to you, brethren, I (A)did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you (B)the [a]testimony of God.

 2For I determined to know nothing among you except (C)Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

 3I was with you in (D)weakness and in (E)fear and in much trembling,

 4and my message and my preaching were (F)not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of (G)the Spirit and of power,

 5so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on (H)the power of God. 

The sheep must not rest on the flawed “wisdom” of a preacher – the preacher should simply open up the Word of God and preach it as it is. The minstrels in the pulpit should stop relying on their keen ability to entertain, and start relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.

If you sit under a minstrel who likes to keep serving milk on Sundays and Wednesdays (Hebrews 5:13), then you might need to find a sound bible teacher who is serving the true meat of the Word (Hebrews 5:14).

Related Posts:

  • “Why Aren’t More Blacks Interested In Reformed Theology?”
  • A Perfect Example Of The Need For Expository Preaching
  • Biblical Teaching Vs. Motivational Speaking
  • More On Sound Biblical Teaching

    ***hat tip to reader Dupednomore for forwarding this article recently posted an article that speaks to a few things I wrote here last week:

    Question: “What is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis?”

    Answer: Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.

    The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.

    Obviously, only exegesis does justice to the text. Eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words. (click here to read the entire article).

    Remember, study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15).

    Biblical Teaching Vs. Motivational Speaking

    Many of the saints are deceived by charismatic and theatrical preaching because it tickles the ear and satisfies our desire to be entertained.

    I’m of the firm belief that many folks enjoy watching their pastor hoop, sing a bible verse, prance back and forth across the stage, and lay hands on people on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings.

    “My pastor sure can preach” or “Bishop Jones is a bible teacher!”, they’ll say to their friends and coworkers while encouraging them to visit their church.

    In reality, if your pastor relies on theatrics, philosophical illustrations, or the “Holy Spirit” to “fall” during service so that he “can’t even preach because the glory is so heavy” – then he neither teaches OR preaches…he entertains.

    Many people are even deceived by the “easy going” and “welcoming demeanor” or Rick Warren and Joel Osteen. These guys barely ruffle a feather when they preach, but they sure do reel you in by “motivating” you to live your “best life now” or be driven by your “purpose”.

    The tragedy is that the sheep have been entertained & “motivated” for so long (many for most of their lives), that they would consider expository preaching to be “too boring”.

    Here’s an accurate description of expository preaching from Wikipedia:

    Expository preaching differs from topical preaching in that the former concentrates on a specific text and discusses topics covered therein, whereas the latter concentrates on a specific topic and references texts covering the topic.

    In other words, many pastors eisegete the Word of God instead of properly exegeting it.

    The video below does a great job of explaining the basis of sound bible teaching, and how far the pimps have strayed (and stayed) away from it by only quoting a scripture to use it as a basis to preach their personal philosophy:

    Some of the voices you hear in the audio portion of the video are (surprise) Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Fred Price.

    Yet another reason to study the Word of God for yourself and avoid wolves, pimps, and hustlers who attempt to misuse His Holy Word to fleece you.

    ***hat tip to Real Christianity for the video***

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