by Bob DasalExpository Preaching-Building the Church
Have changes in our churches over the past thirty years been good or bad? The answer is: both! We rejoice in the benefits the technology revolution has brought to churches. Benefits that include Church Management Software (CMS) that revolutionized how we maintain records and keep in contact with church members, and multimedia tools that give visual reinforcement to our preaching, teaching, and worship.
Another good change is that barriers that have come down. Racial and economic barriers in many of our churches have been broken down. "Blessed be the tie that binds" has nothing to do with race or money, because the ground at the foot of the cross is level. What binds believers is the "so great a salvation" in Christ.
Unfortunately, not all change has been positive. Even worse, the "bad" changes have been in foundational areas. Today many, many churches (but praise God, not all) seem to be suffering from the lack of a solid biblical doctrinal foundation. Too often the people in church can tell you how they feel about God, but don't know what they believe about Him. The emphasis on the experiential has overshadowed what is biblical. What I "feel" about something or someone is not nearly as important as what God says in His Word! Why? His Word is Truth. We need to "know" His Word and it must be real in us if we are to preach, teach, and live the victorious Christian life.
What do I think are the reasons for the deterioration of the firm biblical foundation our churches once had? Here are my observations:
1. There has been a lack of solid expository preaching of the Word. It seems expository preaching is the exception rather than the rule today. Most preaching is topical rather than expository.
2. Expository preaching is hard work. It takes much prayer, a lot of time and serious study to prepare. Balancing all the responsibilities churches expect from their pastor is so difficult. Diligence and giving sermon preparation priority is hard, but necessary if you're to "preach the Word."
3. Expository preaching is not popular in some churches. People have become conditioned to worship services that contain very little doctrinal preaching. They will respond negatively to "poor" exegetical preaching, but genuine Christians will become excited and renewed when they hear "good and solid" exegetical preaching. There is no substitute in the pulpit for a God-called preacher who has labored in prayer and intense study to "rightly divide the word of Truth."
If we're to win and disciple people in the 21st Century we MUST begin NOW to teach biblical theology in our churches. Expository preaching builds the church for the long haul. Our people must know what they believe and why they believe it. Doctrine is not a dirty word and we need not apologize for preaching and teaching the great doctrinal truths of the Bible! Our people need to know that the basis of our position is not whimsy, but the bedrock fundamentals of biblical Christianity.