Lecture 2 – Legitimacy, Pros & Cons

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2. The legitimacy of the different kinds of sermons.

William G. T. Shedd, Homiletics & Pastoral Theology, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), p. 128.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “On the Choice of a Text,” in Lectures to My Students, Book I, (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 2008), pp. 105-106.

a. All three kinds of sermons are legitimate means of conveying the truth of God if they meet the criteria of the seven axioms applicable to all sermons.

William G. T. Shedd, Homiletics & Pastoral Theology, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), p. 136.

b. Pastoral sensitivity will ordinarily demand the use of all three kinds of sermons.

c. Individual gifts, the development of the preacher, and the situation in which he is preaching will determine which kind of sermon should predominate at any given point in his labors.

d. Personal inclination alone must not dictate the kinds of sermons that you preach, but rather you must be motivated with the passion of bringing maximum edification to your people.

e. Calculated variety is useful to the preacher and his congregation.

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3. The relative advantages and potential disadvantages of the different kinds of sermon

Introduction:

It is necessary to consider this subject because there is no gift of God in nature or grace which sinful man will not abuse to his harm and to the reproach of the God we love.

1) Examples

a) In nature

1- Food is abused by gluttons.

2- Sex is abused by lecherous men and women.

3- Art is abused by idolaters.

b) In grace

1- Free pardon is turned into license.

2- The necessity of meticulous obedience is turned into legalism.

2) Two general abuses of preaching

a) Homiletical mysticism – a so called “trusting the Spirit” without careful consideration of the benefits and liabilities of each kind of sermon.

b) Homiletical legalism – getting locked in to the preaching of only one kind of sermon without due consideration of the benefits and potential liabilities of each kind.

3) In the New Covenant the Word and the Spirit go together.

a) Necessity of constant, conscious dependence upon and openness to the real, and present, powerful guidance of the Spirit.

b) Necessity for constant, conscious regard to and respect for the proven benefits and potential liabilities of each kind of sermon.

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a. The relative advantages and potential disadvantages of the topical expository sermon

1) The relative advantages of the topical expository sermon

a) To the hearers

1- It imparts to them a breadth of exposure to the unified witness of Scripture on a given subject.

2- It provides them with a living demonstration of the unity and progress of biblical revelation.

Topical preaching if properly done can provide a mini-course in Biblical Theology.

3- It acquaints them with the pivotal texts of Scripture relative to the subject preached.

Mt 4:4

Mt. 22:31ff

Acts 2, 3

4- When addressing current issues it shows your people the sufficiency and relevance of scripture to all of life.

b) To the preacher

1- It generally forces him to read widely and to think comprehensively

 2- It can act as a check upon his natural imbalances of thought and statement on a given subject.

3- It forces the development of his organizing skills.

4- It gives him liberty to address issues which have gripped him, his people, or society at large.

2) The relative potential disadvantages of excessive topical expository preaching

a) To the hearers

1- They may imbibe a distorted view of the nature of the Bible.

They may think of the Bible as a random collection of proof texts.

2- They may not as readily acquire good habits of sound interpretation for themselves.

3- They will probably remain ignorant of many facets of biblical revelation that would otherwise be set before them in consecutive exposition. The potential danger can in great measure be neutralized by the consecutive reading and commenting on the whole Bible as a regular part of our worship services.

b) To the preacher

1- He is liable to major on themes of personal interest or prejudice.

2- He is liable to organize material in an imbalanced way.

3- He is liable to become lazy and shallow in his study of the Word of God.

4- He is liable to make a minor subject into a major subject

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