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7/16/97 Magazine, new degree assert need for expository preaching

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Not just any kind of preaching will bring about a reformation of evangelical churches at the end of the 20th century. Only expository preaching which, by definition, has the Bible as its basis will spur such a recovery, asserts the editors and writers of the July 1997 issue of “Southern Seminary Magazine (The Tie).”
The magazine’s focus comes on the eve of a new doctor of ministry degree program specializing in expository preaching.
“I believe Southern Seminary will be measured, indeed, should be measured by whether those who graduate from this sacred school are mighty in the Scriptures,” writes President R. Albert Mohler Jr., in the lead article of the magazine. “We should be judged by whether our graduates in the classroom, the Bible study and centrally in the pulpit are bold expositors, teachers and preachers of the Holy Scripture. This is how we will be judged, and this is how we should be judged.”
The new degree is a non-resident program designed for ministers who need to stay in their field of service. One of the features of the program will be the use of “some of the leading expository preachers” in the Southern Baptist Convention, according to Mohler. Jerry Vines, co-pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., a former SBC president, and James Merritt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga., will be among the instructors.
Mohler, in his Tie article, “In season and out of season: The centrality of Scripture in preaching,” points readers to 2 Timothy 4:1-5 for the Apostle Paul’s admonition, “preach the Word,” to Timothy, his apprentice in the ministry.
“The link between the preaching of the Gospel and the preaching of the Word is indissoluble and unbreakable,” Mohler writes. “Nevertheless, the sad history of the last two centuries indicates an increasing pattern of preachers who attempt to ‘liberate’ the Gospel from the Scriptures. This pattern we must condemn.”
The magazine also includes an article by Steven Lawson offering practical advice and 10 steps preachers should take in preparing expository sermons.
“Expositors are not born, they are made,” writes the senior pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala. “Gifted by the Spirit of God, yes. But such men are, nevertheless, forged in the fire of hard study, hammered on the anvil of rigorous practice and polished over time.” Expositors must be “firmly committed to handling His Word with excellence,” he adds.
In an article surveying the current preaching landscape in American churches, the editor of “Preaching” magazine writes, “The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in preaching within the church, both evangelical and mainline.”
Michael Duduit, who also serves as executive vice president at Union University, Jackson, Tenn., writes, “I am convinced that an expanded use of expository preaching … will produce a significant interest and satisfaction among those who sit in our pews. God does not promise to honor our sermons, but He does promise to honor His Word. Does it make sense to base our sermons on anything else?”
Adding that preaching must have a contemporary focus which communicates to a modern audience, Duduit notes, “Great preaching doesn’t begin on Saturday evening. It doesn’t even begin on Monday morning.” Instead, Duduit says that effective preachers have made a “commitment to preaching as the top priority in their ministry. And they begin months ahead of time in planning.”
The magazine also includes a model expository sermon by Geoffrey Thomas and an interview with the British evangelical leader. Thomas has been pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales, since 1965 and is chairman of the Associating Evangelical Churches of Wales.
“Expository preaching drives you. It makes you a man of the Word,” Thomas says in the interview. “It has an extraordinary effect upon you. The greatest blessing you can be to your congregation is to be a holy man, a man like Christ. And the only way that comes is by the Word.”
The focus on expository preaching is concluded with an excerpt from the 1872 edition of “A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons” by John Albert Broadus. One of the four founding faculty members of Southern Seminary, Broadus’ book has long been a standard in the field of preaching.
Calling better preaching one of the “crying needs” of evangelical churches, President Mohler recently lauded the new doctor of ministry degree in expository preaching as holding “real promise of bringing change to the entire SBC.”
The July issue of The Tie also marks the beginning of a new publication schedule for the 65-year-old publication of Southern Baptists’ oldest seminary. With the new schedule, The Tie will be published six times a year, three issues in the current four-color magazine format and three issues in a two-color tabloid format.
“So many things are happening in the lives of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, we realize quarterly issues of the magazine aren’t enough,” writes David Porter, the seminary’s public relations director, in his “Letter from the Editor” in the July magazine. The increase in frequency of issues will provide “more space to tell the Southern Seminary story,” Porter adds.
For copies of the magazine or to make a request for a free subscription, write: Southern Seminary Magazine (The Tie), 2825 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40280 or send e-mail to: [email protected].

    About the Author

  • James A. Smith
  • James A. Smith, Sr.
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