Tuesday is for Preaching
In the year 2000, Mark Dever came out with his book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Today, Mark is a house-hold name, a luminary on the evangelical conference circuit. He is a fine and thoughtful expositor of the word and a wonderful throw-back to another age when pastors were theologians and teachers rather than CEO’s.
But back then his “star” had not yet risen. He was invited to come to Trinity Seminary in Deerfield (properly, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, or TEDS) to give a lecture. Somehow, I had gotten contact with him prior to his coming and had been invited to attend a “meet and greet” Mark Dever. When I arrived, I was the only person to show up! [That’s what I mean when I say, his “star” had not yet risen. Today, there would be hundreds at such an event.]
What ensued was a good 90-minute discussion of his book and the “nine marks of a healthy church.” I frankly have forgotten most of what we talked about and I am sure that Mark Dever wouldn’t remember or know me from Adam. But I do remember one thing. “Marty, frankly,” he said and then paused to gather his thought. “… if you are committed to expository preaching, faithfully teaching the authoritative intention of passage after passage, you will have a healthy church.”
I thought then and I still think that Mark is right. True expository preaching will produce healthy churches. Not perfect churches, not flawless churches, not necessarily large churches, or fast growing churches but healthy churches.
So because today is Tuesday and I post about preaching on Tuesdays, here’s a quote from Mark Dever on what expository preaching is and isn’t.
“Expository preaching is preaching in service to the Word. It presumes a belief in the authority of Scripture—that the Bible is actually God’s Word; but it is something much more than that. A commitment to expository preaching is a commitment to hear God’s Word–not just to affirm that it is God’s Word but to actually submit yourself to it. the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles were given, not a personal commission to go and speak, but a particular message to deliver. Likewise, Christian preachers today have authority to speak from God only so long as they speak His message and unfold His words. As loquacious as some preachers may be, preachers are not commanded simply to go and preach. they are commanded specifically to go and preach the Word. That’s what preachers are commanded to preach.” (p. 26-27)