Expositor’s Conference 2009
The Sacred Desk:
A History of Expository Preaching from the Reformation to the Present
Session 5 – The Preaching of the 19th Century (Dr. Steven Lawson)
Liberalism and higher criticism attacked the Bible in the 19th Century. Karl Marx and Charles Darwin damaged the purity of doctrine. Charles Finney perverted the gospel. Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Unitarianism all took blows at Biblical preaching. Yet God also raised up an army of expository preachers from the Second Great Awakening.
The Preaching of Archibald Alexander
Archibald Alexander was a Presbyterian Preacher who became the first professor at Princeton Seminary – a preacher to train preachers.
What defines the preaching coming from Princeton Seminary in the 19th Century?
1. experiential preaching – we believe what we preach. A firm confidence in the reality of what we preach. A preacher is a living epistle of the word of God. We cannot impart what we do not own.
2. earnest preaching – no levity. But no coldness or indifference. No playing games. Not just a vocation.
3. practical preaching – application of commonly-received truths. Preaching to the whole man.
4. authoritative preaching – as an ambassador of Christ. But not overbearing or dictatorial. Speaking the very words of God Himself.
5. evangelistic preaching – preach with a love for sinners.
The Preaching of Charles Haddon Spurgeon
What can we say about the preaching of Spurgeon?
1. An unwavering commitment to God’s word – we need more of God’s word in every sermon. I have never had an original thought.
2. A burning passion for Jesus Christ – the best sermon is one that is the fullest of Christ. A simple sermon with Jesus in it cannot fail.
3. A complete reliance upon God’s Spirit – what the Spirit would do in him, through him, and to those who heard him speak.
4. A fervent passion in preaching – get on fire for God and people will come to watch you burn. It is our dull sermons that will haunt us on our deathbed.
5. A bold audacity in the pulpit – “I yield to none. I preach what I like, when I like, as I like.”
6. A fixed belief in God’s sovereignty
7. An evangelistic zeal for souls – “My main business is the saving of souls.”
8. A sober weightiness in his preaching – Spurgeon anguished over missing the mark even once in his sermons.
Session 7 – The Preaching of the 20th Century (Dr. Steven Lawson)
We have come to the final session of the conference – Tuesday night at 6:30 PM. It will be interesting to see if Dr. Lawson goes back and picks up any of the material from Session 5 (19th Century Preaching). If he does, it will be entered above where it belongs. The preachers included in the program were C.H. Spurgeon and Archbald Alexander (who I have never heard of). Holding steady at around 100 people. We begin with three songs. I have never heard any of these: “Because We Believe”, “Saved By Grace” and “Thy Grace Alone, O God”. The music leader is Keith Phillips, by the way. Reminds me somewhat of the music selections at Grace Life Shoals, but presented a bit different.
Dr. Lawson presented preachers from the 19th Century during this session. Notes are presented above in Session 5. Then after a short break, Dr. Lawson presented Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones.
The Preaching of Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
The preaching of Martyn Lloyd Jones is marked by deduction, argument and appeal. This is all part of expository preaching. Not just a running commentary. Not just word studies.
Keys to preaching as pointed out by Martyn Lloyd Jones
1. high view of the pulpit – something to which a man is called. It is forced upon you.
2. high view of the scripture – read your Bibles systematically, not just to find text for a sermon.
3. high view of God
4. high view of theology – preaching is theology on fire.
5. high view of the Holy Spirit – if there is no power, there is no preaching.
6. high view of logical order – a sermon should have a definite form, in the sense of a musical symphony. It should be differentiated from everything else. God is a God of order. Symmetry, balance, form.
7. high view of earnestness – a preacher must be a serious man. Nothing light, superficial, or trivial. But not dull or boring.