Arminian Today

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Expository Preaching and Cultural Issues

When it comes to cultural issues, the topical Bible teacher has it easy because they can just avoid controversial issues.  Whether the issue be a doctrinal debate such as the doctrines of election, predestination, reprobation, wrath, holiness, etc., the topical preacher just never creates a topical study based on those doctrines.  He just avoids them altogether.  The same is true for cultural issues.  The topical preacher will not come under persecution from the culture because they control their talks and they can avoid talking about whatever they want to talk about including debating cultural issues.  If the culture is for something that the Bible is against then the topical preacher merely avoids the issue by not talking about that in his topical Bible talks.

Not so with the expositor of God’s Word.  Expository preaching requires boldness because the expositor of God’s Word will not be able to avoid dealing with tough theological issues nor can the expositor avoid dealing with cultural issues as they come to them in the text.  Whether the issue be divine election or whether the issue be adultery and divorce, the expositor must teach the Word of God faithfully and must not allow their opinions or the opinions of culture to gray the Word of God.  The Bible is clear on most issues and the expositor must allow the Bible to speak for itself on cultural issues.  The expositor cannot avoid what the Bible says about various issues or doctrines.  They must deal with them to be faithful to God.  This is the conviction of the expository preacher.  We believe that every word in the Bible is vital and important because all of the Bible is from God and given to us by His Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We believe the Word of God and not the opinions of men are what we need to hear and heed (Matthew 4:4).  We believe that the Bible and not the preacher or the culture is the final say on all issues (Hebrews 4:12-13; 2 Peter 1:16-21).  The Word of God alone is the absolute truth of God (John 17:17) and it alone is the inerrant and infallible Word of God (John 10:35).

Expository preaching is dangerous but is necessary for the glory of God.  If we really believe the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God (as it is) then we must believe that every word is from God and every word must be dealt with.  Granted not all of Scripture is clear as others (2 Peter 3:15-16) but the job of the Bible teacher is to labor through the Scriptures to explain the Scriptures.  It is not our duty to avoid the Scriptures because we merely don’t want to teach them or we don’t want to deal with them.  We must be faithful to Lord God and proclaim all His Word (Acts 20:27).

I do pray that topical preachers will take a stand for the truth of God and will teach the Bible faithfully but I fear that many of them will give in to pressure from the world to avoid teaching on topics they know will bring controversy.  In my 20 plus years as a disciple of Jesus, most of my life as a disciple has been under topical preachers.  Sadly, I have never heard one teaching on difficult doctrines such as election or perseverance of the saints.  I have heard countless topical talks aimed at pleasing my flesh or another “law” teaching designed to teach me how to do something like have a better marriage, raise better kids, be a better worker, etc. but rarely have I sat under a Bible teacher who dealt with cultural issues head on.  If they did, they gave their opinions while not dealing in-depth with relevant passages of Scripture.  I have seen a few topical teachers have series’ on tough issues like “Is it okay to drink alcohol?” or “What does the Bible say about…” but again, they skim the issues and they often give their opinions.  Exegesis is often not the focal point.

The expositor of God’s Word will be the most persecuted preacher in the coming years (2 Timothy 3:12).  More and more Bible teachers will continue to move toward topical teaching because of the culture (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  The true expositor will find themselves alone (2 Timothy 4:5).  They will find that they alone, at times, will speak for God.  They will often feel like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10 and will feel as if they are facing the wicked forces of this world alone.  I pray that they know that they are not alone.  We are promised persecution (Matthew 5:10-12) and we are promised that all men will hate us because of Christ (John 15:18-25).  I pray that we will focus on pleasing God above our flesh (1 Corinthians 10:31) and our focus will be on eternity (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).  The Word of God is able to save sinners as we faithfully preach God’s truth to this wicked generation (2 Timothy 3:15).  Let us not shy away from verse by verse preaching of the Word of God.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/28/2013 at 12:10 PM

One Response

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  1. You’re a man after my own heart!


    03/31/2013 at 1:55 PM

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