In John MacArthur’s book, Fool’s Gold?: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error, MacArthur and a host of other contributors argue for the need for the Christian to use biblical discernment and seek, find, and cherish truth in an age that champions relativism and how this all plays out in the church. In a very candid look at popular ministry and church practices that are unhelpful at best and unbiblical at worst, the entries in this book help Christians to discern truth in the face of tradition.
One entry from John MacArthur addresses “the devastating consequences of watered-down messages.” MacArthur criticizes pastors who preach non-expositionally and gives ample reason to toss out all forms of preaching that do not allow the preacher to be the mouthpiece or microphone of God. Most of the time if not always, watered-down sermons are the result of non-expositional preaching. A preacher who preaches expositionally must be so immersed in the text that it is impossible for the sermon to be biblically weak.
I have gathered fifteen detrimental effects of non-expositional preaching from MacArthur and wish to share them here in hopes of leading others to strive to preach expositionally.
1. Non-expositional preaching usurps the authority of God over the soul.
2. Non-expositional preaching removes the lordship of Christ from his Church.
3. Non-expositional preaching hinders the work of the Holy Spirit.
4. Non-expositional preaching demonstrates appalling pride and a lack of submission.
5. Non-expositional preaching severs the preacher personally from the regular sanctifying grace of Scripture.
6. Non-expositional preaching clouds the true depth and transcendence of our message and therefore cripples both corporate and personal worship.
7. Non-expositional preaching prevents the preacher from fully developing the mind of Christ.
8. Non-expositional preaching depreciates by example the spiritual duty and priority of personal Bible study.
9. Non-expositional preaching prevents the preacher from being the voice of God on every issue of his time.
10. Non-expositional preaching breeds a congregation that is as weak and indifferent to the glory of God as their pastor is.
11. Non-expositional preaching robs people of their only true source of help.
12. Non-expositional preaching encourages people to become indifferent to the Word of God and divine authority.
13. Non-expositional preaching lies to people about what they really need.
14. Non-expositional preaching strips the pulpit of power.
15. Non-expositional preaching puts the responsibility on the preacher to change people with his cleverness or creativity or talents.
Mathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.