I recently came across this short video by John Piper on the State of the American Pulpit. It is excellent and addresses a point that hits at one of the chief burdens of my heart.
I have often wondered why we demand excellence and precision in all professional vocations except the pulpit. We demand that our CPAs have a thorough grasp of accounting. We demand that our lawyers have a thorough grasp of the law. We demand that our doctors have a thorough grasp of medicine. We demand and expect our airline pilots to have mastered the ability to fly an aircraft (with good reason because there is a lot a stake when you are flying over 500 mph in a medal tube at 36,000 feet!).
Why is it that we don’t have the same demands and expectations of pastors in their pulpits (certainly there is more at stake here than anywhere else!). One can walk into a great number of churches (Evangelical, Reformed or Mainline Protestant) on a Sunday morning and hear just about everything other than a sound, passionate, clear exposition of Scripture.
Tragically, because so few believers have been exposed to or fed a steady diet of true preaching/teaching in their churches their spiritual appetites have become trained to only want the spiritual junk food they have always been served. Even more tragic is the fact that in many churches the debate has shifted from what kind of preaching a church should have to whether or not there should even be preaching in the church (see Preaching- The Emerging Church Way).
God’s people, not only in America but around the world (see John Stott’s ministry website) are malnourished and true Biblical exposition is about as rare as a Baiji (one of the world’s rarest mammals; only a few dozen live in the Yangtze River in China). Most of you have never heard of a Baiji and if you happened to see one you wouldn’t even know what you were looking at. This is my point! This is how it has become with Bible expositors in so many churches today.
Bible expositors are increasingly becoming one of the church’s rarest ministries. What should be considered common (sound, faithful Bible expositors) is now rare. And, what is considered typical in most churches today wouldn’t even be recognized as such in most churches just two hundred years ago.
May the Lord be pleased to raise up an army of Gospel-centered/driven, Bible expositors, who are skillful workmen that accurately handle the word of truth.