Wednesday, July 20, 2016

STYLE In Expository Preaching (pt. 2)

Good preaching is built upon accurate exposition but it also involves homiletical "style."  Many seminary graduates know how to do faithful exegesis but do not understand how to write and preach memorable sermons.  Dr. Steve Lawson addressed this dilemma during his July lectures at the Master's Seminary.

Last article highlighted the following headings I) What is Style and Why is it Important?  II) The Advantages of Style.  III) The Category of Style  IV) The Legitimacy of Style

Which brings us to, V)  The Influences of Style.

A) Where you went to seminary (chapel speakers, preaching philosophy, alumni influences, etc).  B) Who you listen to. (good preaching is as much caught as taught).  C) Who you read.  D) What you read.  E) What your affiliations are.  F) What genre of Scripture your preaching. G) What your temperament is (personality not spirituality).  H) Your sense of humor.  I) Are you a natural story teller. J) What is your intellect? K) Your life experiences.  L) Where you serve and who you serve. M)Where the pulpit is located in the sanctuary. N) What the pulpit is (how it's constructed). O)Who your predecessor was. P) What happens before you get up to preach (music style, mood in the room). Q) The size of your "sanctuary" and how it is laid out.

VI) The Imbalances of Styles.

A) All substance and no style.
If all you do is dump data on your people week after week you will likely create theological egg heads and spiritual tadpoles (big heads with small bodies).

B) All style and no substance.
Certain well known Moody radio preachers and popular conference speakers are eloquent but their sermons lack serious exegesis.  The content is lite even though the sanctuary may be full.  This imbalance position is interesting but not insightful (you rarely learn anything new).  The congregation is often told what to do based on what the pastor says (the application is not anchored in biblical theology).

The biblical goal is the combination of substance and style.

VII) The Improvement of Style: How to become a better communicator.

-Learn from as many faithful preachers as you can; (podcasts, sermons, books).

-You need to try and find your own voice; (don't try and sound like John Piper or John MacArthur).

-Learn different rhetorical devices; (see the figures of speech).

-Learn from other great writers.

-Learn from great polemicists (Phil Johnson, B.B. Warfield).

-Learn from the Psalmist; (who is a theological artist).

-Learn from the sermons that are recorded in Scripture, (Matt. 5-7; John 14-16).

-Learn from the great preachers of the past (Spurgeon, Whitefield, Maclaren).

-Ask select people to provide you with some helpful feedback; (Describe my preaching in one word.  Describe my style in one sentence?  What are three of my preaching strengths?  What one thing could help take my preaching to the next level?)

-Try and preach and teach in as many different contexts as you can.

-Always read to learn and relate everything in life back to preaching.

Conclusion:  Every servant of Christ and gospel preacher is a work in progress.  The moment you think you have arrived is the moment you begin to move backwards in the ministry.

A well-crafted sermon is not only easier on the ears it is also more digestible.  Think about the way in which homemakers present a beautiful dinner party and the way they plate the meal.  We should try and do the same thing on Sunday.

If you read through the book of Hebrews in one or two settings you will observe creative language, magnificent argumentation, and brilliant theology.  Suffice it to say the inspired writings demonstrate a perfect marriage of substance and style; (note also the poetry of the Psalms).