If you have a commitment to expository Biblical preaching as it is understood on this site, then some versions of preaching obviously stand out as poor. The anecdotal platitudinal rambling with a verse attached won’t fool many of us. The non-expository topical sermon where verses aren’t handled with care and the Bible isn’t in authority over the message, we can usually spot those too (note that it is possible to preach an expository-topical message, so not all topical is bad!) But the category I label as pseudo-expository can be much harder to spot.
Pseudo-Expository Preaching defined – Pseudo-exp preaching is where the preacher appears to be preaching the text, but falls short of any of the four elements in an expository preaching definition. The four elements are (1) the work of the Holy Spirit in preparation and delivery, (2) the true meaning of the passage understood, (3) then effectively communicated through the preacher, (4) emphasizing the relevance of the passage to the listeners present.
1 – The Holy Spirit. True preaching cannot be simply the application of a mechanistic preparation process, or simply the fruit of good learning. True preaching has to be a work of God. This is very difficult to genuinely discern in others. Sometimes you can tell from a preacher’s attitude or lifestyle. But these can be faked. Yet if we turn the focus onto ourselves, it becomes a searching question – is your preaching done in your own power, or in prayerful and humble reliance on the empowering of the Spirit of God?
2 – The Bible text rightly understood. Some people will be fooled by preaching that bounces off words in a text to say whatever the preacher wants to say. But true preaching reflects genuine study and understanding of the text. Genuine study and understanding will not be equally profound in every preacher. If you feel inadequate in this area, don’t be intimidated and give up. Keep growing in your study skills and your Bible knowledge. In respect to the next message, try to stick in your passage and grasp it as effectively as you can. The basics done well will be a blessing to all. But if you short-cut by bouncing off words, or using the text to give your own message, then that’s pseudo-expository.
Tomorrow I’ll deal with the other two elements and note how they can be missed to create a pseudo-exp sermon.