- Experimental Theology has a nice review of Tony Jones’ The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing & Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community. This one’s been on my to read list for a while now, and I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
- Kyle Strobel has begun what looks like it will be a very interesting series on choosing a theology text. He will be reviewing a series of introductory theology texts for classroom use and offering his thoughts/comments on each. I’d encourage you to follow along.
- Brian has uploaded a number of papers over at NearEmmaus that look very interesting
- First Thoughts has a fun little post on logical fallacies in the news.
- There’s an interesting interaction between Kevin DeYoung and David Platt on Platt’s new book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Justin Taylor has also offered a few comments on the subject.
- Apparently there is now a new Facebook campaign to have Slavoj Žižek host Saturday Night Live.
- And, don’t forget to celebrate Towel Day!
The Gospel Coalition posted an article today by Iain Murray titled “Expository Preaching: Time for Caution.” In it Murray raises some questions about the current trend toward expositional preaching, where “expositional” is understood to refer to “preaching which consecutively takes a congregation through a passage, or book of Scripture, week by week.” Although he recognizes some of the reasons often given for this style of preaching ministry, he raises five concerns:
- Not everyone is gifted/capable of doing this kind of preaching well.
- Preaching should not be seen as merely instructional.
- There is a role for lecturing your way through the Bible, but that is not the primary function of preaching.
- Expositional preaching can easily become a dull running commentary on the text, rather than the powerful and memorable declaration of important ideas.
- Expositional preaching is not conducive to evangelistic preaching because not all texts are equally conducive to Gospel proclamation.
He concludes with two final thoughts. (1) This doesn’t mean we should avoid this kind of expositional preaching, only that we shouldn’t make it the exclusive focus of the pulpit. (2) We shouldn’t limit “expositional” to this kind of preaching, but should extend it to any kind of sermon that seeks to explain God’s word clearly and powerfully.
My initial reaction when I started reading the article was not terribly positive. I immediately jumped to what I think of as the opposite of expositional preaching – the kind of “topical” sermon that takes its starting point from some biblical text, but never returns to it. Obviously, though, that is far from Murray’s mind. He is still talking about preaching expositional sermons, he’s just pushing back on the idea that a truly expositional preaching ministry needs to walk through entire books passage by passage.
My second reaction was one that he actually dealt with throughout the article. I concluded that of course we need expositional preaching or people won’t ever hear the whole word of God. And, I’m actually still concerned about this one. As I reflected a bit more, however, I began to wonder if the contemporary emphasis on expositional preaching was related to the modern shift away from other teaching times. With the downfall of Sunday schools and Sunday evening services, where do people hear the word of God taught/lectured on a regular basis? If Murray is right and teaching/lecturing is not the primary purpose of preaching, something that I would agree with, how are we ensuring that people are getting that other kind of equally necessary time in the word? They certainly aren’t getting it from most of the small groups that I’ve been a part of. (Hmmm, what’s the common denominator there?) Is it possible that expositional preaching of this kind is the solution to a problem that we should be trying to solve in other ways?
So, here are the questions for our consideration. First, what do you think of Murray’s arguments? Do they hold water? Second, what do you think about the contemporary emphasis on expositional preaching? Does it lie at the very heart of good preaching? Is it something that has possibly gotten overemphasized in the modern church because of weaknesses in our teaching ministries elsewhere? Or, do you just like topical preaching and would like to hear more series on “You and Your Money.” I must confess that although I’ve had many regular teaching ministries over the years, I’ve never had to preach every week. I think we all can and should have an opinion on this, but I’d be particularly interested in hearing from those of you who preach (or have preached) on a more regular basis.
No, I’m not going to weigh in on the theological significance of lost. Actually, I can’t. I’m still about four episodes behind. So, I didn’t get to watch the finale last night. But, apparently others are far more current in their Lostology and have prepared some reflections for your theological enjoyment. Two in particular look interesting (though I haven’t read either of them for fear of spoilers).
- Over at Huffington Post Bradley Onishi has an article titled “I Once Was Found and Now I Am Lost: Reflections on the Religious and Spiritual Dimensions of Lost“
- And James McGrath, who has bee posting comments on Lost for a while now, has one called “LOST Places In The Heart: Making sense of LOST now that it is over“
If you’re aware of any other good posts on the subject, feel free to let us know.
[Update: Here's another from Relevant Magainze]
- I meant to post this one yesterday, but I forgot. Scot McKnight reviews N.T. Wright’s After You Believe at Books and Culture.
- Scotteriology has a brief post on the importance and usefulness of the documentary hypothesis
- If you’re not sure what all the commotion is about the new social studies curriculum just approved by the Texas State Board of Education, here is a nice article summarizing the issues.
- Scot McKnight has posted some interesting facts about megachurches, suggesting that they’re not as bad as we think (or, at least, they’re not worse than really small churches).
- Apparently the long awaited (100 years) autobiography of Mark Twain is finally going to be released. Sounds like it will be fascinating reading. (HT First Thoughts)
- If you have any interest in higher education, one of the hot issues today is what schools of the future will do with the library holdings. The Boston Glob has an interesting piece today on how Harvard is responding with its library.
- I mentioned last week that the “Get a Mac” ad campaign had been canceled. Well, apparently there’s actually a tribute video now.
Apparently it’s been a slow bogging weekend, but here are some interesting links for today.
- Jim West posted a link to an interview with Hans Küng that looks pretty interesting. Of course, I can’t actually say for sure since the whole interview is in Italian.
- Nick Norelli has updated his Trinitarian Resources page, and it’s well worth checking out.
- As an historical aside, today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Girolamo Savonarola, the Italian preacher and reformer who was killed as a heretic in 1498.
- Two books have recently been released from people I studied with at St. Andrews. Julie Canlis’ Calvin’s Ladder offers a new reading of Calvin’s theology focusing the concept of participation and noting a number of important parallels with patristic theology (HT Jim West). Mickey Klink’s edited volume The Audience of the Gospels continues the discussion of Gospel audiences begun by Richard Baukham and contains essays from Mickey, Baukham, Mike Bird, Craig Blomberg, Justin Marc Smith, and Adele Reinhartz (HT Euangelion).
- If you’re into social networking, Lifehacker points out a new resource that will generate humorous status updates for you.
- Brian has begun a series on John Levison’s Filled with the Spirit.
- Nick Norelli posted a link to a site with a number of articles on the Trinity.
- Andy Rowell has a good post on recommendations for getting up to speed on Bonhoeffer.
- This is probably the best piece I’ve seen yet on the whole Ergun Caner debacle. If you’re looking to get caught up on the story, it’s worth reading.
- Dan Ortlund has an interview with Tim Chester on his new book You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions.
- What were you doing when you were 13? Were you climbing Mt. Everest? Would you even let you kid climb Mt. Everest?
- The Catholic Church responds to news that scientists have created the first synthetic cell.
- And, for today’s sad news, apparently those fabulous “Get a Mac” ads are going away.
Here is a copy of my paper in the Old Word Format for those of you who haven’t upgraded yet . See post below for Word 2007 document.
- Christopher Seitz recently presented a paper at DTS on “The Trinity in the Old Testament: A Canonical Approach” (HT Ancient Hebrew Poetry).
- Near Emmaue offers an NT Wright podcast that looks pretty interesting in the range of topics that Wright discussed.
- Jim West has a great post of Zwingli’s response to John Eck back in the day.
- Here are some tourist “relics” from Tornio
- And, in case you have managed not to be completely done with all things Lost, Slash Film has a roundup of Lost videos from around the internet.
- Resurgence has posted an article by Michael Horton on “Renewing the Great Comission.”
- Credo vs. paedo: John McArthur and R.C. Sproul discuss their respective views of baptism.
- Scotteriology offers some more thoughts on higher criticism and conservative reactions against it.
- Desiring God has posted another video of John Piper, this time discussing the significance of church membership. Kevin DeYoung offered some thoughts on this a few days ago in a post on “Why Christians Should Covenant Together through Local Church Membership.”
- And, apparently Waterworld may not have been a complete waste of time.