Expositor’s Conference 2009 – Tuesday, Sept 29 Sessions 3 & 4

Session 3 – The Preaching of the Puritans (II) (Dr. Joel Beeke)

Onto day 2 of the 2009 Expositor’s Conference. It’s 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, September 29. The crowd stands at about 100 this morning. We begin with three songs: “Thy Word is My Delight”, “Be Thou My Vision” and “How Firm a Foundation”. Joel Beeke began with a commercial for Reformation Heritage Books, Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth and the Puritan Reformed Journal.

Dr. Beeke began Part II of the Preaching of the Puritans with 2 Timothy 4:1-5. And then moved into more points beyond those he covered last night.

The Plainness of Puritan Preaching

This refers to very personal preaching, directed at every single hearer. As if their name was inserted in the sermon. Plain preaching is aimed at adults and children. Yet it still covers great theological terms. Arrows are never shot over heads, but at hearts.

A. Plainness involves organization of the sermon:

1. Give the meaning of the text in the context – exegetical

2. Teach the doctrine made known in the text – doctrinal

a. scripture must dictate the emphasis of the sermon

b. preaching must instill appreciation for every spiritual doctrine

c. preaching must cover a huge variety of topics

d. preaching should be didactic (teaching)

3. Make application to life – applicatory – how do we use the text?

a. no one should be able to escape the applications. Seven types of hearers:

i. ignorant and unteachable unbelievers

ii. ignorant but teachable unbelievers

iii. some knowledge but are not humbled (proclaim the law to these people)

iv. the humbled but unconverted (proclaim the gospel to these people)

v. believers (proclaim doctrines to these people)

vi. fallen believers (proclaim self-examination to these people)

vii. mixed group

b. countering error

c. exhortation – means and help to perform

d. rebuke sin, stir up hatred for sin, dread of the consequences of sin

e. comfort

f. self-examination of our spiritual condition

g. applying truths to the glory of God

B. Plainness involves plain delivery.

C. Plainness involves plain hermeneutics.

a. words

b. context

c. reasonable thinking

d. scripture interprets scripture

e. literal interpretation

f. proper handling of figures of speech

g. perspicuity of scripture

h. illumination of the Holy Spirit

D. Plainness involves dependency on the Holy Spirit.

E. Plainness involves personal holiness.

a. simple lives

b. lives devoted to God

The Program of Puritan Preaching

The Puritans had a five-prong program for powerful preaching:

1. The Preaching Itself

a. experiential preaching – helping the hearer to experience the text

b. discriminatory preaching – vital communion with Christ

2. Lectureships – people other than pastors who did nothing but preach and teach

3. Prophesyings – almost like a conference on a single biblical text (see 1 Corinthians 14:29)

4. Books of Sermons

5. Ministerial Training

The Passion of Puritan Preaching

1. Puritans loved the gospel and loved to preach the gospel.

2. Puritans loved to preach. They loved to prepare sermons.

3. Puritans loved the people that they preached to. “Both eyes fixed on the people, heart fixed on God.”


Session 4 – The Preaching of the Great Awakening (Dr. Steven Lawson)

1662 – The Great Ejection- 2000 Puritan preachers were ejected from their pulpits in England.

1730’s-1740’s – The Great Awakening. Preaching was the heart and soul of the Great Awakening. America was born out of the flames of the Great Awakening.

What were the distinguishing marks of the preaching of the Great Awakening?

1. High view of theology

2. High view of God (sovereignty)

3. High view of orthodox doctrine

4. High view of the Lordship of Jesus Christ

5. Low view of man (depravity) “What can a dead man do?”

6. Regeneration and the new birth

7. Salvation is of the Lord

The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards

What was it about Edwards’ preaching that caused such a response among the people who heard him?

1. God-centered obsession. Edwards had drunk deeply from the reformers.

2. Word-dominated message. Sola Scriptura. Always expounding a text from the word of God. The entire Bible brought to bear.

3. Doctrinally steep exposition – depth of his subject matter.

a. question and answer

b. thesis and antithesis

4. Plain preaching

a. distinctiveness and clarity of thought

b. remarkably compelling

c. sincerity

5. Burning intensity

a. deep solemnity

6. Practical application

7. Vivid analogies, images, similes, metaphors, illustrations

8. A constant gaze on eternity – the certainty of heaven and hell


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