Preachers Need to Get It Right

by Kyle Smith

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

Correctly explaining God's Word is the most important thing pastors can do for their churches, stated well-known pastor and author John MacArthur.

"I think Christian ministry, as such, has one clear duty-and that is to bring people the truth of God by explaining the meaning of the Bible," he asserted. "You have an obligation to God to get it right."

MacArthur, who spoke during a three-day lecture series at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., and president of The Master's College and Seminary in Santa Clarita, Calif. He also is a conference speaker and featured teacher on the Grace to You radio program, which airs more than 1,500 times daily around the world.

Throughout his messages, MacArthur took a stance against the modern seeker-friendly movement, which he said is often guilty of exchanging biblical exposition for cleverly crafted yet shallow messages, omitting potentially offending truths and conforming itself to resemble a lost world.

MacArthur noted that this kind of failure to exposit the Word usurps the Lordship of Christ over His church and hinders the work of the Holy Spirit.

"At the beginning is the question of authority," MacArthur said. "Who is sovereign? Who has the right to be heard? I have no authority in my church unless I say, Thus says the Lord.' I'm there to be the voice of God, nothing less.

"Your ideas will come and go and be forgotten," he continued. "But [God's Word] will not go.... People do not grow because of insightful stories or clever analogies. The Word of God is the only true source of help.... [It] alone cuts deep and then heals."

Preaching should not reflect a pastor's own ideas and intuition but instead the mind of Christ, he added.

MacArthur also was adamant that the church should not be influenced by the world or take its cues from culture. Stating that the church should be a reflection of heaven, he said it is a travesty to make sinful people comfortable in a church.

"I'm not trying to make the church as much like the world as I can," MacArthur said. "I'm trying to make the church as much like heaven as I can. People should walk into church, and it should be nothing like the world."

By expositing the Word, he encouraged students, they can protect their churches from error and defend their flocks from those who marginalize the gospel and preach "feel-good" theology. "The enemy wants to come into the church and attack the truth," he exhorted. "We have a responsibility to protect the sheep. We need to be ... warrior preachers.'"

Underscoring the importance of biblical exposition, MacArthur listed fifteen unintended consequences for a pastor who fails to base his messages on God's Word:

1. The authority of God over the mind and soul of the hearer is usurped.

2. The Lordship of Christ over His church is usurped.

3. The work of the Holy Spirit is hindered.

4. A lack of submission to Scripture is manifested.

5. The preacher himself is severed from the regular sanctifying grace of Scripture.

6. Spiritual depth and transcendence is removed from the souls of people, so that worship is crippled.

7. The preacher is kept from fully speaking the mind of Christ.

8. The spiritual duty and benefit of studying Scripture intensely are depreciated by example

9. Weak congregations, which are indifferent to the glory of God and Christ, are established.

10. People are robbed of their only true source of help.

11. A destructive disconnect is created between sound doctrine and life.

12. God is denigrated by omitting those truths that trouble, offend, and terrify the soul.

13. People are disconnected from the legacy of the past.

14. Protection against error-so deadly to the church-is removed..

15. People are deceived into thinking they've heard from God when they have not.

Baptist Press

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad