Andy Stanley Trashes Expository Preaching; Calls it “Easy” and “Cheating”

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Revmitchell, May 11, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

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    Ed Stetzer, whose employer – Lifeway “Christian” Resources – sells more than a few Andy Stanley books, interviewed the Texas pastor on the topic of preaching related to his book, Communicating for a Change. The second of such interviews on this topic, Stetzer posts the Q&A on his blog, hosted by Christianity Today. What follows is nothing short of a shocking (but refreshingly honest and explicit) rejection of expository preaching, and although is not new, is making its way around social media as of late.

    The question posed to Stanley was this…

    What do you think about preaching verse-by-verse messages through books of the Bible?

    Stanley’s answer…

    Guys that preach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible– that is just cheating. It’s cheating because that would be easy, first of all. That isn’t how you grow people. No one in the Scripture modeled that. There’s not one example of that.

    http://pulpitandpen.org/2015/05/08/...ository-preaching-calls-it-easy-and-cheating/
     
  2. robustheologian

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    Preaching verse-by-verse is actual a textual sermon as opposed to an expository sermon.

    I wouldn't say expository preaching is cheating or easy...however it is a lot easier than inductive preaching.
     
  3. blessedwife318

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    How would you define and differentiate those terms? I've never heard of textual sermon and I'm assuming inductive preaching is like an inductive Bible study. But to me that is what people are talking about with expository preaching, digging into the text itself.

    Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk
     
  4. InTheLight

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    First of all, I'm confused as to which side of the argument you are taking, Rev. The article you linked to is a nasty attack on Andy Stanley and a call for expository preaching.

    I'd like to comment on the OP but first let me see if I've got my definitions correct.

    * Expository preaching is preaching verse-by-verse through a book of the Bible.

    * Topical preaching is picking a topic, i.e. "Fruits of the Spirit" and preaching on that using applicable verses from all over the Bible.

    If my definitions are correct, I'd have to agree with Andy Stanley. Merely plowing through, say, the book of Malachi and preaching a series of sermons on it over a couple of months is lazy and might not be what the congregation needs to hear. Pastors know what their flock needs to hear, as far as instruction and rebuking. How can you get to a particular topic certain members of the congregation need to hear if the preacher is committed to working through the book of Ecclesiates? Unless the topic happens to pop up in that text. I also agree with Stanley that there is no scriptural basis for using this expository method. (There's nothing in scripture that says it's wrong, but there are no examples of it.) Our pastor went through the book of Matthew verse-by-verse (took over two years and it was very educational) but also took breaks to preach on topics.

    Furthermore, at the link you cited the author, JD Hall, basically rips into Pastor Stanley and asserts, "There is not a chapter of the Sacred Text describing expository, topical, thematic or narrative preaching." Wait a minute, Jesus preached in parables, or topics of instruction that were specific lessons. I'd say parables are examples of topical preaching, and they're found all over the Gospels.
     
  5. robustheologian

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    Traditionally a textual sermon follows the progression of the text while expository sermons develop points from an idea regarding the text.

    Inductive sermons are usually narrative sermons and are meant for the listener to to come to his or her own conclusions.

    Expository and textual sermons are deductive in that it starts with a main idea and then the support for that idea. An inductive sermon lets the points guide you to the main idea.
     
  6. annsni

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    We have found the Holy Spirit to be quite useful in this area. It's amazing how the passage in a book we are studying will reach someone JUST RIGHT just when they need it. My husband preached through 1 John recently and man, what truths were brought forth and how lives were changed by God's Word. Now we're getting to the nitty gritty and are going through James and learning some practical things and why it makes a difference. Again, each week it NEVER fails to hear "How did you know just what I was going through?" or "Pastor, I really needed to hear that today!"

    God is pretty cool that way.
     
  7. blessedwife318

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    Thanks for the information.

    I am a fan of expository sermons or picking a book and going through it. My old pastor went through John and took 7 years with a few breaks here and there. I thought it was wonderful to dive so deep into a book. My current pastor is much faster and has just finished up going through Luke in about 18 months and will be starting Acts here soon. Topical are fine once in awhile but I miss the meat of verse by verse if there is too much topical preaching.

    I would disagree with Andy that verse by verse is lazy since I know Pastor talk about how much time it take to wrestles with a given passage to as opposed to having a topic in mind and just finding verses that support or talk about that topic.

    Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk
     
  8. Thousand Hills

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    :thumbs: :thumbs: Expository makes the pastor have to address "sensitive" passages such as: divorce, election, depravity, whatever, etc. And as Ann points out since it's God's living word some point will be made that is what someone needs to hear at that time. Most of my life I have heard nothing but topical preaching, like you said its easier for a pastor to present "here's my opinion, now here's some verses that agree with my opinion" when often those verses are taken out of context.
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    Sigh....Topical preaching is as much expository as anything else. Whether one goes verse by verse or topical all methods can be done incorrectly. The sermon style has nothing to do with poor exegesis.
     
  10. InTheLight

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    I agree with this. When I say that expository preaching can be lazy I mean this:

    Q. What are you preaching on this Sunday?
    A. Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

    Q. Next week?
    A. Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

    Q. The week after that?
    A. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

    Q. And then?
    A. Ecclesiastes 2:12-24

    Q. How about 13 weeks from now, on August 16th?
    A. Ecclesiastes 9

    Q. You know, there's a lot of gossip going on regarding the new youth pastor. How about a sermon on the evils of gossip?
    A. Is it in Ecclesiastes?
    :BangHead:
     
  11. Thousand Hills

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    :laugh:

    Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 NKJV
    Also do not take to heart everything people say,
    Lest you hear your servant cursing you.

    For many times, also, your own heart has known
    That even you have cursed others.

    Ecclesiastes 10:20 NKJV Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
    Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
    For a bird of the air may carry your voice,
    And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

    :thumbs::thumbs:
     
    #11 Thousand Hills, May 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2015
  12. InTheLight

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    LOL! That's awesome.

    But if the schedule were to be kept the pastor wouldn't reach the last part of chapter 7 until the end of July.
     
  13. Salty

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    IMHO, expository "preaching" would be suited for an in-depth Bible Study with a medium size group.

    One individual mentioned that his pastor spent seven years in the book of John.

    I just wondering how many in the congregation sat thur all 350 sermons on John?

    At that rate it would take about 99 years to preach thur the entire Bible.
    Even at one chapter per week - it would take 22 years.

    Lets take a Bible College - with 2 full semesters - there would only be about 120 days of instruction.

    Hmmmmmm
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    I do not remember how many years it took but W.A. Criswell preached through the entirety of the Bible that way.
     
  15. Jerome

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    I found this on The Gospel Coalition site, "Expository Preaching: Time for Caution":

     
  16. Thousand Hills

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    The gossip would be good and juicy at that point, fully ripened so to speak. Just when everybody thought they'd got away with it, bam! :laugh:
     
  17. Jerome

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    From the blog of The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals:

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2010/06/some-thoughts-on-pulpit-method.php

     
  18. Revmitchell

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    It matters not what style a preacher uses if he is not full of passion and driven that it is exactly what is needed at that hour then he has no business preaching it. When this is the case preaching is never dull.
     
  19. Jerome

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    I just noticed the OP is taken from sordid JD Hall's 'Pulpit and Pen' interwebsite?
     
    #19 Jerome, May 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2015
  20. Jerome

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    Another much-needed reality check for those on the recent 'expository preaching' bandwagon:

    (From an address by Dr. Peter Masters at the 2010 Metropolitan Tabernacle School of Theology)

    Pitfalls of expository preaching:

    - It can be too slow

    - The style of the preacher can steamroller the Holy Spirit

    - It can be a form of priestcraft when over-detailed, leading church members to despair of ever understanding God’s word on their own

    - It can impose rather than respond

    - There can be lack of application

    - It is not much good for evangelism
     

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