Friday, June 15, 2007

Alistair Begg on Friday

Like John MacArthur, Alistair Begg is a fine and faithful preacher. A Scot now ministering in the US, Alistair is a particular help, in my opinion, to British preachers. His Scottish reformed heritage is very clear, while his preaching is both contemporary and colourful. There are few men as faithful to Scripture who are as consistently listenable! Daily broadcasts of Alistair's ministry from the Truth for Life radio program can be found here , while Alistair giving an update on his health (he has recently been treated for prostate cancer) can be heard here.

This first extract is from his little booklet 'Preaching for God's glory' - and I'll be back next Friday with a continuance of this.

In our day the expositor of Scripture has been eclipsed by a variety of sad substitutions. We will consider a few.

1. The cheerleader. This well-meaning fellow has a peculiar need to be liked and accepted. Whatever the context of a particular message, he is going to be positively inspirational. A good Sunday for him is one where his people laugh a lot, are affirmed and affirming, and go away more self-assured than when they arrived. Whether they were confronted by the truth of God’s Word or humbled by God’s presence is largely lost sight of in a quest for wholeness that replaces a concern about holiness. Such an individual often leaves the teaching of the Bible to small groups or home studies. The preacher’s task, he feels, is to ‘pump them up’ and prepare them for the daunting week that awaits them as soon as they leave the building.

Sadly, in such a case the sheep leave stirred but without being strengthened, and when the sugar fix provided by the mil-shake sermon has worn off, those with any kind of spiritual appetite wander off in search of more substantial food for their souls. The proper work of the preacher is thus not done.

2. The conjuror. When we hear the congregation declaring ‘Wasn’t it amazing what he got out of that?’ we should not immediately assume that the news is good. When the preacher refuses to do the hard work of discovering the actual meaning of the text in its context, and when he divorces discovery and application, just about anything can be conveyed – and often is!

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