Why Pentecostals Don’t Preach Expository Sermons
- Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Expository preaching will not be the only thing we do behind the pulpit, but we should seriously consider making it the main thing.
6. We Are Afraid too Much Preparation Will Replace the Leading of the Holy Spirit.
One could argue that Pentecostals have been so committed to being led by the Spirit that they have neglected the other essential practices needed for good preaching, such as preparation, organization of the message, planning a preaching calendar, staying with the sermon notes while delivering the sermon, and allowing the main idea of the text to be the main idea of the sermon.
Do not underestimate the Holy Spirit's ability to lead you in planning. If the Spirit can guide you at the altar, during your prayer time, or in day-to-day living, He can certainly give you wisdom to plan. Remember that the preaching plan, like all plans, are projections that are based on the best information you have at the time, if it needs to be revised then do so. The Holy Spirit will guide you.
Let this be clear: there is nothing inherently contradictory about being led by the Spirit and preaching expository sermons. Both commitments require effort, patience, and a willingness to let God have His way.
7. We Have Not Thought Through the Implications of Preaching from an Inspired and Authoritative Bible.
Expository preaching is a logical commitment for Pentecostals who have such a high view of Scripture. It is a matter of record that our doctrine is "…by and large a statement of conservative evangelical theology." If you were to review any doctrinal statement of the major Pentecostal denominations (Church of God in Christ, Four-Square, Assemblies of God, Church of God Cleveland, Tennessee) you would find that phraseology such as "infallible," "immutable," "verbally inspired" and "authoritative" are prominent in describing the nature of the Bible. Thus, one leading Pentecostal scholar, Gordon Fee, observed, "…the mainstream of traditional American Pentecostalism has treated Scripture in very much the same way as have other forms of American fundamentalism or evangelicalism."
Expository preaching assumes the power and authority of Scripture. Expository preaching presents the power of the word as it is explained and applied to the lives of people. Pentecostal's strong commitment to the authority of the Bible should lead us to utilize more intentionally expository preaching.
We Define Pentecostal Preaching in Terms of Style Instead of Substance.
When people think of Pentecostal preaching they commonly think of a delivery style that is characteristic of Pentecostal worship (exuberant, spontaneous, simple speech, etc.). Without wanting to dismiss the distinctions found in much Pentecostal sermon delivery, it would be a mistake to think that Pentecostal preaching is primarily understood in terms of style. Indeed you cannot fully appreciate what motivates this zeal unless you define Pentecostal preaching in terms of theology.
A most helpful definition of Pentecostal preaching was offered by R.H. Hughes. He wisely refuses to distance Pentecostal preaching too much from preaching done by other evangelical ministers. Hughes focuses not on differences in delivery, instead he addresses the unique theological emphasis that Pentecostals have, most notably Acts as a pattern for the life of the church along with speaking in tongues, gifts of healing and spiritual warfare.
Assuming his definition is correct, Pentecostal preaching should be defined in terms of doctrine instead of delivery. Does it stress the need of the church to be empowered by the Holy Spirit? Does it teach that the works of the Holy Spirit through the disciples in the Book of Acts is more than just a record but instead a pattern for Christian service and spirituality? Does it create expectation in the lives of the audience regarding Gods ability and willingness to work through spiritual gifts, yesterday, today and as long as the church is doing her work?
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