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Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever:

Packer: “A sermon . . . is an applicatory declaration, spoken in God’s name and for his praise, in which some part of the written Word of God delivers through the preacher some part of its message about God and godliness in relation to those whom the preacher addresses.”

Duncan: Packer’s definition emphasizes the living word of God, using the preaching as a facilitated encounter. All proclamation must be based in the word of God. There must be a word-mediated encounter between a human soul and the living God. From Genesis to Revelation, God creates his people by the word. The way God has chosen to reveal himself is by the word.

Mohler: A crisis in expository preaching is a crisis in the authority of the word. Examples of new alternatives: the demise of the word and the rise of the image.

Mahaney: Most important moment each week is a preacher preaching God’s word to God’s people.

Duncan: Preaching is a part of worship. If worshiping God is engaging with God in the way he proposes and makes possible, then preaching is a component of worship.

Mohler: The Puritans understood that worship centers in the Word.

There’s a distinction between “lean-in” vs. “lean-back” media. There’s a generational difference. With music it’s easier to know how to participate. The stereotype—the false assumption—is that preaching is not participatory. It’s not that we go from lean-in (music) to lean-back (hearing a sermon).

Duncan: We need to talk to pastors about faithful exposition, but also instructing our congregations in faithful listening.

Get Christopher Ash’s book Listen Up!: A Practical Guide to Listening to Sermons.

CJ’s style of preaching—more meditative vs. Dever’s fire-hose approach—can be helpful in marinating on the word.

Mohler: It’s a good idea to take notes—active listening.


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3 thoughts on “TGC Panel 2: Is There a Plan B to Preaching?”

  1. Nine Ways in Which Preaching is Being Undermined [compiled from statements made during *T4G* Panel 2]:

    Mohler: [1] Through a dependence on images rather than on the Word; [2] Through speaking of “worship” and preaching as separate, rather than seeing preaching as the summit of worship; [3] Through viewing preaching as passive, rather than participatory;

    Duncan: [4] Through assuming that people will be attracted to what they already find all week in the world;

    Dever: [5] Not enough preparation; [6] Not enough specific application; [7] No “feed back loop” (to provide insight into strengths and weaknesses in the sermon) in place;

    Mohler: [8] The idea that there must be immediate, visible results; [9] Turning to moralism or pop psychology for application.

  2. EMSoliDeoGloria says:

    Agree about the lack of a “feed back loop” for constructive input from the church into sermons (not sure if that’s what Dever means)… The idea that lay people can have theological insights or provide constructive feedback on a sermon can be the missing link for more effective pulpit ministry for some pastors.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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