Packer on Expository Preaching

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in Books, Church, Culture, Preaching

51gpy8n94bl-_ac_us218_The following is from J. I. Packer’s introduction (Why Preach?) to and excellent resource on preaching, The Preacher and Preaching: Reviving the Art. His third point is that preaching focuses and identifies the calling of the church as no other activity does. He rightly asserts that this is an argument drawn from the nature of the church, as we learn it from Scripture. He goes on:

In every age the church has had an identity problem, and in some ages and identity crisis. Why? Because the world always wants to assimilate the church to itself and thereby swallow it up, and is always putting the church under pressure to that end; and to such pressure the church, at least in the West, has constantly proved very vulnerable. The results of it can be seen today in the extremely weak sense of identity that many churches have. Their adherents think of them more as social clubs, like Shriners, Elks, Freemasons, and Rotarians, or as interest groups, like political parties and hikers’ associations, than as visible outcrops of one supernatural society, and they are quite unable to give substance to the biblical thought that God’s people, as the salt and light for the world, are required to be different from those around them. The problem is perennial, and there is always need to proclaim the Bible, its gospel, its Christ, and its ethics, in order to renew the church’s flagging awareness of its God-given identity and vocation. Preaching is the only activity that holds out any hope of achieving this; but preaching can do it by keeping before Christian minds God’s threefold requirement that His people be Word-oriented, worship-oriented, and witness-oriented. [p. 19]

He goes on to reflect on those three requirements – and I will provide those in the three blogs that follow.

For today, preacher, be reminded that we are not called to solve the world’s problems in the world’s ways or issues of today in the wisdom of the world. We are to preach the Word and the Christ of the Word in the power of the Spirit for the sake of our own flocks, the greater Church, and for the world. That, and that alone, is our hope of glory!

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