John raised an important question in response to the post on key elements of an expository preaching definition. Should it not include some reference to Jesus? Some say yes, others say not necessarily. Interestingly, of the six definitions I have used in my preaching course, only one includes a reference to Christ (J.I.Packer uses the term, “Christ-related”). Anyway, two positions to ponder:
Christocentric preaching – Bryan Chappell, influenced by Edmund Clowney, teaches and models a form of preaching wherein the fallen-condition focus of the passage is resolved by moving to the person and work of Christ. People in this line of thought have made comments that a sermon which could be preached in a synagogue, or one in which Christ is not mentioned, is essentially a non-Christian sermon. (Interestingly, Chappell’s definition of an expository sermon, on p132 of Christ-Centered Preaching does not make any reference to Christ – “An expository sermon . . . expounds Scriptures by deriving from a specific text main points and subpoints that disclose the thought of the author, cover the scope of the passage, and are applied to the lives of listeners.”)
Theocentric preaching – I’ve heard Haddon Robinson reject the charge that a message without Christ is essentially a non-Christian sermon by stating that he preaches theocentrically, and if God plays a key role in the message, then he knows no other God but the Trinitarian God of Scripture. In practice, Robinson does move from an Old Testament passage to Christ when it works to do so, but he does not feel obliged to do so every time.
People who question the “always bring it round to Jesus” approach are not automatically advocating anthropocentric, “seven secrets for success,” or self-help sermons. Chappell is right to critique sub-Christian preaching of the “be like,” “be good,” or “be disciplined” variety. However, must every sermon include Jesus in order to be considered expository? Certainly many sermons will naturally move to Jesus, but must every sermon? I would say not, what would you say?