Seminary Blog

Review of Greek Guides

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 09:48
A local pastor recently asked me to recommend a reliable Greek guide for working through a New Testament text. He was planning to preach through the text, and while he had plenty of commentaries, even commentaries based on the Greek text, he was looking for something that engaged the Greek more directly. I was thrilled... Read More
Categories: Seminary Blog

Ask Anything

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 13:01

The post Ask Anything appeared first on Southern Equip.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Mark Coppenger can’t stop talking about the gospel

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:44
Mark Coppenger talking about the gospel[

On a sidewalk in Detroit, Mark Coppenger sits on the curb, lunch sack in hand, talking with a young man. This image capturing a spur-of-the-moment conversation with a stranger — on a sidewalk, on an airplane, on the bus — is not an uncommon one of Coppenger. It’s likely you’ll find him riding the bus to Southern Seminary’s campus in Louisville from his home in Nashville, Tennessee, choosing public transit over his car, favoring the stories in the seats on the Megabus over the company of his car radio.

Coppenger, professor of Christian philosophy and ethics at Southern, has filled a variety of roles in his career. He is a pastor, church planter, professor, and writer. He is also a long-time leader, having served as executive director of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana and president of Midwestern Seminary in the past. But he is known by friends and peers for his passion for evangelism, for engaging others in gospel conversation, and for doing so in unlikely and unexpected places.

His work in evangelism began when he was in college as he volunteered for student-led revivals, leading music, where he was first brought out of his comfort zone. Years later, after earning a Ph.D. in philosophy at Vanderbilt University and teaching, he attended seminary at Southwestern Seminary in Texas, where he was pushed even further out of his comfort zone. “They taught us evangelism through a number of programs, including the popular Continuing Witness Training,” he said. “They pressed us to get out and do it.”

The Continuing Witness Training program encouraged two questions: First, have you come to the place in your life that you know for sure that you have eternal life, that you’ll go to heaven when you die?

And second, suppose you’re standing before God, and he asks you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” What would you say?

“I didn’t want to do it,” he admitted. “I thought, ‘What if I’m rejected? What if they don’t want to hear from me? What if they turn me down and treat me mean?’”

But he was surprised to find that people were more receptive to conversation than he expected. “Over the course of probably five years, I guess I asked that question a thousand times, and only twice were people rude.”

“It was exhilarating,” he continued. “I rarely felt as alive as a Christian as when I was sharing my faith.”

This training in evangelism served as a foundation to the approach that Coppenger has taken to professional and personal ministry.

Evangelism training encouraged Coppenger to visit people in their own homes. And as a church planter in Evanston, Illinois, he led his team to introduce themselves to residents of the neighborhood by going door to door. Visiting residents one by one, the church introduced itself offering resources and community.

“I need all the grace I can get. I need salvation as a sinner, and if I’ve got any of the mind of Christ for the world, then I want to share the gospel,” he explained.

Learn a gospel presentation

Coppenger suggests starting with having a gospel presentation in mind. Memorize a couple dozen verses of Scripture and give structure to them. What those verses are and what structure is given to them can look different, but ultimately the goal is to be able to present God’s purpose, man’s problem, God’s answer, and man’s response.

But preparation for evangelism isn’t only memorizing a presentation of the gospel. It’s also prayer, that the opportunity to bring the gospel into conversation would present itself. And “you should pray for those openings,” he advised. “Pray for a gospel conversation.”

Remember formulas don’t always work

Coppenger is clear that evangelism doesn’t always look like a formal presentation, and Christians should speak the gospel so often that they “gossip the gospel.” As easily as gossip can come from our lips, so should the gospel.

Don’t be discouraged

Many new believers have had a number of “touches of the gospel” before fully accepting it, he said, so don’t be discouraged.

“We were in Metairie, Louisiana, once,” he remembered, “and there was a guy using a weed eater in his yard, shorts on, cigarette in his mouth, and he received the gospel in ten minutes. And he said, ‘I’ve been praying that somebody would come by and talk.’”

In Metairie, he wasn’t the first touch of the gospel: “I may have been number three. I may have been number six. But every once in a while, you’re the last and you can’t believe it.”

Coppenger’s evangelism extends further than his professional ministry. He doesn’t have to be knocking on doors or teaching to feel the need to present the gospel. Whether a chat with the butcher in the grocery store or his neighbor at the Motel 6, he is always looking for an opportunity for gospel conversation.

Be friendly

For many people, starting the conversation can be the most difficult part. Coppenger offered advice here as well. Not everyone is outgoing — nor do they need to be.

Coppenger’s experience with evangelism has led him to meet thousands of people in a number of cultures, and people react to friendliness, to warmth and conversation. He called friendliness a Christian virtue. “Be friendly,” he said, “and you just end up talking to people.”

Ask questions

Be inquisitive too, he said. He has often asked about the book the person next to him on the bus is reading, complimented a hat or a t-shirt, asked about a haircut. Conversation is easy with a “naive curiosity” and a willingness to ask questions.

Coppenger brings a depth of conversation to the people he meets outside of the classroom — by asking questions that prompt self-examination and framing that with the gospel.

“I teach dialogically,” he explained, “by asking questions. You get people talking and have people talk about themselves.”

Take any opportunity to ask a question and make a connection, he said, “and you’re off to the races.”

Ultimately, he explained, when it comes to evangelism, “The gospel is the power. God’s spirit uses the gospel to do his saving work.”
———
Sarah Haywood is a writer for Southern Seminary.

The post Mark Coppenger can’t stop talking about the gospel appeared first on Southern Equip.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Leader influences

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:44

The post Leader influences appeared first on Southern Equip.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Bevin Center Trips

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:44
Houston, Texas

A student-organized and student-led team helped with disaster relief for NAMB Send in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Justin Fountain, a Houston native and student at Southern, led the team.

Cuba

A five-member team was given the rare opportunity to receive pastoral training in Cuba. Felipe Castro, director of Hispanic Initiatives, led the team.

Costa Rica

Jeff Hunter, dean of students at Boyce College, led a seven-member team to Costa Rica. While there, they received invaluable pastoral training.

Spain

Students from the Boyce College Soccer team learned personal evangelism skills and received pastoral training while hosting a kids soccer camp. Matthew Hall, dean of Boyce College, led the team.

Greece

Nine people spent part of their spring reaching out and evangelizing to the refugees in Greece. John Klaassen, associate professor of global studies, led the team.

Ireland

An eight-member team spent 10 days in July evangelizing the people of Ireland. Stephen Wellum, professor of Christian theology, led the team.

Ethiopia

Ten students experienced an incredible opportunity for pastoral training in Ethiopia. Michael Pohlman, assistant professor of Christian preaching, led the trip.

Middle East

Eleven students learned how to use business skills in a missionary context in the Middle East. David Bosch, associate professor of business administration, led the team.

North Africa

Ten students received cultural training while practicing their personal evangelism skills in north Africa. Ayman Ibrahim, the Bill and Connie Jenkins associate professor of Islamic studies, led the team.

Persian Gulf

Six students learned how to use their business skills in a missionary context in the Persian Gulf. Kevin Jones, assistant professor of teacher education, led the team.

India

A six-member team spent two weeks reaching and teaching the people of India. George Martin, professor of Christian missions and world religions, led the team.

Indonesia

A team of eight spent part of January doing evangelism among the people of Indonesia. George Martin, professor of christian missions and world religions, led the trip.

Russia

A eight-member team spent 10 days in may evangelizing and teaching children grades K-12. Melissa Tucker, associate professor of teacher education, led the team.

Serving in Our Own Backyard

Students and faculty from SBTS and Boyce served their community through evangelism and preaching throughout the year.

A team of men preached all over the city, including Oxmoor Retirement Home, Louisville Rescue Mission, and jails and prisons around Kentuckiana.

Other men spent time being chaplains at Churchill Downs and for FCA.

A team of Boyce students spent multiple days a week tutoring and evangelizing students in the west end of Louisville at Portland Promise Center

Students worked with Ayman Ibrahim to evangelize the large Muslim population in Dearborn, Michigan.

Boyce and Southern students did sidewalk counseling with women seeking to get an abortion with Speak for the Unborn.

Students from Southern helped cook meals and facilitated devotions for women trapped in the adult entertainment industry with Scarlet Hope.

The post Bevin Center Trips appeared first on Southern Equip.

Categories: Seminary Blog

7 things every Christian can learn from Billy Graham

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:43

Definitive pronouncements about a person’s legacy are best left to future historians, but in the case of Billy Graham, certain reliable observations can be made now. As I both mourn his passing and rejoice that he is now with the Savior whom he deeply loved, I offer these reflections on his enduring legacy.

1. BELIEVE IN THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE.

After struggling with a season of doubt, prompted by his friend Charles Templeton’s skepticism, Graham made a bedrock commitment to affirm the Bible as God’s certain and trustworthy Word. The signature phrase in his preaching became, “The Bible says.”

2. experience THE POWER OF PRAYER.

He repeatedly said, “There are three secrets to my ministry. The first is prayer; the second is prayer; and the third is prayer.” He pled with God for the souls of people. In his 2006 book, The Journey, Graham gives this advice: “Every man or woman whose life has ever counted for God has been a person of prayer. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian.

3. know THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The great Welsh preacher Stephen Olford helped Graham understand what it meant to have the fullness of the Holy Spirit fueling one’s life and one’s preaching. In his 1978 book, The Holy Spirit, Graham enunciates what was the heart of the matter for him: “It is not how much of the Spirit we have, but how much the Spirit has of us.”

4. FOCUS ON THE CROSS.

Like the Apostle Paul, he “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). In the midst of growing secularism and skepticism, when other so-called “evangelists” might shy away from preaching the cross, Billy Graham made clear that without the cross (and the resurrection) we have no gospel message.

5. prioritize PERSONAL EVANGELISM.

He realized that God had called him to be a preaching evangelist to millions, but he also understood that the majority of people who come to Christ would be brought through the witness of faithful believers. Over the years, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has sponsored hundreds of training opportunities.

6. Prepare FOR THE FUTURE.

He knew that should the Lord’s return not happen in his lifetime, the need for ongoing gospel ministry would continue after he was no longer preaching. Graham loved the Billy Graham School (the only graduate school in the world to carry his name) and was thrilled for the ongoing gospel training that men and women would receive here long after he was gone.

7. LIVE a LIFE OF HOLINESS.

Throughout his remarkable ministry, spanning some eight decades, there has never been a hint of scandal. Early in his ministry Graham set high standards for both financial accountability and sexual morality. Perhaps his wife Ruth said it best when asked how to explain his worldwide impact. She observed, “Billy isn’t a great preacher – but he is a holy man.”

During one of his extended crusades, Billy had his brother-in-law, Leighton Ford, preach one evening so Billy could rest his ailing voice. Billy wanted to be there to pray for Leighton as he preached, so he put on large sunglasses and pulled a baseball cap down low on his forehead, and went out and sat in the audience that night.

Billy sensed that the man sitting next to him had come under conviction during the message, and when Ford gave the invitation, Billy asked this man if he wanted to go forward to commit to following Christ. The man looked at him and said, “No, I think I’ll wait until tomorrow night when the ‘big gun’ shows up.”
The world has lost a gospel champion today. But Billy Graham would want to say to every believer, “Don’t wait for the next ‘big gun’ to come along. Go share Christ with your family member, coworker, classmate, neighbor, friend or acquaintance today.”

———
Timothy K. Beougher is the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry.

The post 7 things every Christian can learn from Billy Graham appeared first on Southern Equip.

Categories: Seminary Blog

5 reasons pastors get depressed (and why they don’t talk about it)

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 10:30

Many pastors really do struggle with depression.

This is true today and it has been true throughout the history of the church. The great Charles Spurgeon wrestled with depression throughout his life. Martin Luther and John Bunyan had grappled with significant bouts of anxiety and fear. God’s men are clay pots indeed.

Most church members have no idea their pastor was depressed. They don’t know until they are awakened to the reality of some of the dramatic consequences of the depression: broken marriages; sexual affairs; resignation from ministry; and even suicide.

If you are a pastor reading this post and you are struggling with depression, please get help. Too many pastors have been taught that depression is a sign of failure in ministry, that it is something that must be hidden from view. Those are lies, blatant lies. Please get help. Now.

Five causes

The primary purpose of this brief article is to explain the precipitating factors to depression. More clearly, these are the five primary causes many pastors identified as the reasons behind their depression. Each of the causes is followed by a direct quote from pastors who shared with me their struggles.

  1. Spiritual warfare. “I don’t mean this in a profane way, but there was a point in my ministry when all hell broke loose. I can’t explain the attacks any way other than spiritual warfare. The enemy was intent on destroying my ministry, and I began to spiral downward emotionally.”
  2. The surprising reality of pastoral leadership. “I wish someone had told me how tough it is to be a pastor. My single counsel was to preach the Word, and I understand the priority of preaching. But, after a year or so in my first pastorate at age 31, I saw the underbelly of local church life. I was just caught off guard. And it took me some time before I realized I was truly depressed.”
  3. Sense of inadequacy. “My church is declining. While I don’t get hung up on numbers, my members started talking about the decline. And when we had to delete a position because we could no longer pay the person, I really begin to hit rock bottom. I felt like it was all my fault.”
  4. Critics and bullies. “Pastoral leadership really can be a death by a thousand cuts. It’s not any one person or criticism; it’s the constant and steady stream of criticisms. It wears on you. My depression came on gradually, so by the time I was in deep depression, I did not see it coming.”
  5. Loneliness. “It’s really hard to find a true friend when you are a pastor. And when you have no one to talk to about your struggles and questions, life can get lonely.”
Pray for your pastors

Depression is real with pastors. It seems to be pervasive. May we who serve alongside them, staff and laity alike, take a few minutes a day to pray for our pastors.

It could very well be one of the most important ministries we have.

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Categories: Seminary Blog

Why I am preaching through the whole Bible

Southwestern Seminary - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 09:30

My journey into the role of a lead pastor has been far from ordinary. In 2009, my family and I moved from the Dallas metroplex to West Monroe, La. (that’s right … I’m in “Duck Dynasty” land), to become the student pastor at a church called First West. For five years, we were able to see God do incredible work among middle school and high school students in Northeast Louisiana. In early 2013, I sensed a shift in what God’s calling on my life would be, but I was convinced it would not be a lead pastor, as I had no desire to fulfill that role. However, during that year, God was clearly working.

I had several opportunities to go on staff at great churches in our convention, but the Lord repeatedly shut those doors. Shockingly, He knew what He was doing. At the end of 2013, I was contacted by the search committee requesting to begin the interview process to become the next pastor at First West. Needless to say, the rest is history. Here I was, 32 years old, having never served as a lead pastor, only holding a master’s degree in Christian education from Southwestern Seminary, and now leading this great church.

One of the biggest challenges of moving into the lead pastor role was weekly sermon preparation. One pastor friend shared with me, “Preaching weekly is like giving birth on Sunday and being pregnant again on Monday.” He was right. I found weekly preparation to be a challenge with everything else that comes with leading people, a staff, and ministry opportunities. It can be easy to allow good things to rob the most important thing.

Possibly an even larger challenge than the weekly preparation was the strategic sermon planning. It wasn’t for a lack of ideas or content, but rather discerning where our people were spiritually and the right way to biblically address the entire congregation. It is one thing to preach weekly in order to address a tangible need, but altogether different to preach to people’s hearts, which reveals the root of their needs.

After several years of switching regularly between expository book studies, character studies, and an occasional topical series, I became convinced of this: MANY OF OUR PEOPLE KNOW STORIES IN THE BIBLE, BUT FEW OF OUR PEOPLE KNOW THE STORY OF THE BIBLE. After discerning this to be the case in early 2017, I became convinced that in 2018 I needed to “preach through the Bible.” I am preaching to my church Genesis to Revelation in 48 messages to help our people see not only God’s story, but His character, faithfulness, and fervent love within the story.

We are now three months into this journey and have already seen many benefits. Whether you are a pastor looking to preach the metanarrative of Scripture or a church member who believes this would benefit your church, let me share several benefits of our journey:

1. Our people are seeing and grasping the metanarrative of the Bible.

It is refreshing to hear individuals, who have been in the church for years, vibrantly discuss how the Bible fits together. They’ve spent their lives listening to sermon after sermon, but they have never before seen the full picture. There is a reason people like to binge-watch TV shows on Netflix! One episode may be good, but many episodes in the right order is awesome! Our God is a creator, redeemer, and restorer who fights for His people. Don’t let your people miss the forest for the trees!

2. Our people are seeing how to better apply the Scripture to their lives.

As fitting as it may be at times to look down our noses at the faithlessness of the Israelites, we are reminded that we’re often guilty of that same faithlessness. God’s response to their wayward hearts and wavering commitment shows us how to rightfully respond when we wander as well.

3. Our people are seeing the centrality of faith to our relationship with God.

Romans 4:13 says, “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” In methodically walking through the Old Testament, our people are observing that even in the giving of and expected obedience to the Law, God’s call was always to follow Him by faith.

4. Our people have never been more clear that Jesus is the hero of Scripture!

Jesus made it crystal clear in Luke 24:27 that the Scriptures are ultimately about Him. Directing our peoples’ attention to see Christ throughout the Bible has been life-giving. God “winks” at us from the beginning, showing us the hero of this story. Jesus is seen in creation (Colossians 1:16), in the ram caught in the thicket (Genesis 22), in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), and in numerous other passages.

5. I know what I am preaching next week, next month, and next fall!

This benefit is self-serving, but it is a real benefit!

Categories: Seminary Blog

How to preach difficult doctrines without splitting your church

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Tue, 04/03/2018 - 06:00

The history of Christianity and of virtually every denomination is a narrative of spats, splits, and schisms. Many churches and denominations were born not of an intentional tactic to reach more people, but in response to personal or doctrinal conflict.

Doctrine does not have to divide, however, if a pastor will employ a few basic strategies when he encounters a difficult or controversial doctrine in the Bible.

1. Make it textual

Christians will never understand doctrine apart from grasping the warp and woof of Scripture. A steady diet of exposition teaches both the metanarrative of the Bible as well as the underlying truths. Narrative passages were “written for our instruction” (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11) and as examples to us. They generally hold some sanctifying truth to emulate or sin to avoid, but even behaviors exhibited in the text fit within a doctrinal framework that reflects the character and will of God.

Jonah 4, for instance, is fascinating and has an incredible narrative appeal. You might expect the story to conclude with chapter 3. After initially defying the Lord, Jonah undergoes God’s chastisement in the belly of a great fish, cries out for deliverance, relents, and goes to Nineveh, where he delivers a message of judgment. The people repent and turn to God. Nothing could fit Aristotle’s analysis of drama better than that: exposition, complication, climax, reversal, and denouement. Jonah is a prophet (exposition), he refuses to obey (complication), he is swallowed by a fish (climax), he cries out to God and goes to Nineveh (reversal). And as a result of his preaching the Ninevites repent (denouement).

But chapter 4 is completely unexpected. It doesn’t seem to fit. Just when we think the tension is resolved, we’re taken to an unanticipated destination: the heart of God. The prophet who received God’s mercy pouts like an impetuous spoiled child because God shows mercy to the undeserving Babylonians. God exposes Jonah’s ridiculous and misplaced affections, and then exposes his own heart—naked and raw and bleeding for the people of Nineveh. If God destroyed Nineveh for their sin, even though justified, he would also destroy children and people of diminished mental capacity who “do not know their right hand from their left.” He even cares about the innocent animals (Jonah 4:11)!

This unexpected turn is a “zone of turbulence,” a rhetorical device that drives home the main point by dropping something entirely unexpected and “unfitting” into the narrative. A preacher must never preach merely the event, but must make clear the event’s meaning. Jonah ends with an intimate glimpse into God’s heart of mercy and how he thinks about his creatures. The narrative is not just a good story; it’s doctrine revealed in beautiful narrative form. Only a heart like this would send his Son to die for his people. The God who spared Jonah and Nineveh did not spare his own Son (Rom. 8:32).

Faithful doctrinal teaching always starts with the text, not a system.

Every time you preach a narrative, connect theological truth to the inherent attraction of a good story. Stories often raise questions like, “Why would God do that?” or “How can someone who claims to know God behave like that?” Good preachers answer those questions even as they preach a section within the larger story.

Similarly, didactic passages (in the epistles, for example) reveal truths about Christ, man, salvation, and other categories of theology. Doctrinal content in this genre may be much nearer the surface and thus easier to mine, but connection to other passages and doctrines demands careful exposition and correlation. Faithful doctrinal teaching always starts with the text, not a system.

If you want to avoid dissension and division in the church, always point to Scripture as the authoritative source of doctrine.

 

2. Make it biblical

As obvious as this point seems, pastors sometimes find themselves in a divisive church situation due to their loaded theological jargon. The problem isn’t so much that they teach unbiblical doctrine, but that they use extrabiblical language. The pastor’s primary task is always to show what the Word of God, and not a theological system, says.

If a pastor preaches a system, relies on insider language, or employs faddish expressions, he is far more likely to create needless controversy. A congregant can pack a word full of meaning incorrectly or, at least, differently than the preacher intended—and find 100 websites that confirm his faulty understanding.

Some of the members in my church, for example, come from denominations that warned them of the dangers of “once saved always saved,” since it gives license to pray the “sinner’s prayer” and then live with no regard for sanctification. While our church doesn’t hide our belief that a truly born-again person can never be unborn and ultimately lost, we also don’t believe a person can simply pray a prayer or walk an aisle and then live for the flesh with no change and expect to go to heaven.

My best move as a pastor, then, is to avoid any terminology that implies something other than what I intend to teach, so I default to using strictly biblical language whenever possible. I can talk about being born again to never be unborn or rejected. I can show them in the Scripture that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. I can point them to Paul’s confident word even to the Corinthians, despite all their disobedience, that Jesus “will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:8). I can explain that once one becomes a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), it’s impossible to become an old creation again. I can point to passages about perseverance in faith and holiness and deal honestly with warning passages because I don’t reduce the issue to one banal buzzword or facile phrase, but strive to say precisely what the Bible says.

3. Make it personal

Even the most controversial doctrine doesn’t exist in an antiseptic quarantined ecclesiological space, but in the grit and grime of life and spiritual struggles. The pastor who preaches on Christ’s humanity and merely describes the hypostatic union and its role in church history will face yawns or, worse, divisiveness from the church’s armchair theologians.

When a pastor relates theology to listeners’ lives, when he links doctrine to duty, then congregants more readily catch the teaching’s consequence and significance. Just as the writer of Hebrews relates Christ’s humanity to his faithfulness as a high priest who feels our weaknesses, so the wise pastor will always show the practical implications of doctrine. Belief always drives action. Faith inevitably leads to works. Doctrinal preaching requires application in the real world.

The wise pastor will always show the practical implications of doctrine. Belief always drives action. Faith inevitably leads to works. Doctrinal preaching requires application in the real world.

More than that, a pastor must make it personal in relation to Christ. All true doctrine ultimately finds its expression in the person and work of Jesus. When a pastor shows how a doctrine relates to Christ and how a proper understanding of it leads us to follow him, doctrine comes alive.

4. Make it proportional

Pastors can make the mistake of preaching what they love or what they’re most passionate about to the exclusion of other vital parts of God’s revelation. One can find a lot of passages in Scripture about social justice, for instance, but to preach those texts exclusively without the balance of justification, prayer, or evangelism would soon cause a church to list dangerously toward a social gospel that merely makes the world a better place from which to go to hell. (And of course, the opposite can also occur.)

Expository preaching that systematically works through books from both testaments, from multiple genres, and with a balance between law and grace, is the best steady diet for a congregation. Expositional series through major sections of Scripture help both pastor and congregation to gain a strategic grasp of Scripture’s grand story. One cannot adequately appreciate the whole without a knowledge of the parts, but the inverse is equally true.

The best doctrinal preaching refuses to ride hobby horses and deals with the grand sweep of God’s Word.

Some churches and denominations focus on specific doctrines over and to the exclusion of others. Churches and ministries will define themselves by their obeisance to those things, tending to ignore more pronounced themes and theological movements throughout Scripture. It might be footwashing, women’s hairstyles, missions methodologies, or some other minutiae, but they nonetheless strain at gnats and swallow camels. The best doctrinal preaching refuses to ride hobby horses and deals with the grand sweep of God’s Word.

5. Make it loving

Nothing should be more obvious, but 1 Corinthians 13 is for preachers too. Without love, doctrine doesn’t matter. The pastor whose knowledge has swelled his head rather than his heart will find himself without a church or, worse, with an arrogant church and a distorted gospel.

I’ve had tough doctrinal conversations with members who disagree with me on certain issues. If I remind them that I have a Ph.D. in New Testament, that I know the biblical languages, that I’ve been a seminary professor for 20 years and in ministry for nearly 40, they are not impressed or moved one bit. Nor should they be.

But if I lovingly thank them for taking the time to meet with me, remind them that I want to honor Christ and his Word above all, and tell them that I love them even if we don’t reach agreement, they tend to be much more open to what I teach. Even if they don’t see things my way in the end, they usually leave as friends and cherished Christian brothers and sisters. Would Jesus have it any other way?

This article was originally published at TGC.

The post How to preach difficult doctrines without splitting your church appeared first on Southern Equip.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Dr. Compton Published in BibSac’s 175th Anniversary Issue

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 09:42
Dr. Bruce Compton, Professor of Biblical Languages and Literature, received the honor of having an article published in the 175th Anniversary Edition of Bibliotheca Sacra, the theological journal of Dallas Theological Seminary. His article, which is a later edition of a paper he presented at the 67th annual ETS meeting, is entitled, “The Ordo Salutis and Monergism: The Case for... Read More
Categories: Seminary Blog

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