NOBTS prof, pastor affirms expository preaching in 'Passion-driven Sermon'

by Gary D. Myers, posted Tuesday, July 01, 2003 (14 years ago)

NEW ORLEANS (BP)--Preaching should be focused on the glory of God, says Jim Shaddix, author of "The Passion-driven Sermon."

Shaddix, associate professor of preaching and dean of the chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote the book in response to "unhealthy" trends in preaching. Specifically, he addresses the needs-driven, individual-focused preaching which has become the norm in many churches today.

"It seems that a lot of preaching today is trying to give people ways to act and ways not to act," said Shaddix, who also serves as pastor-teacher at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans. "Preachers feel the pressure to make their preaching more application-oriented ...If application is not rooted in supernatural truth, then there is nothing lasting for lives to be changed."

Shaddix believes that the rise in needs-driven preaching is partially a reaction by pastors to what their church members want to hear. Subtitled "Changing the Way Pastors Preach and Congregations Listen," the book has a message for preachers and listeners alike. Pastors and congregations need to bring a proper understanding of preaching to the worship service.

Drawing from 1 Corinthians 2, Shaddix builds a case for biblical exposition as the primary way for communicating God's Word. He explains that expository preaching is the process of "exposing" the original meaning of a biblical text and sharing the implications of that meaning with contemporary listeners.

Expository preaching focuses on God rather than the needs of individual leaders. Because expositors attempt to encounter and communicate the "true voice of God" in the biblical text, understanding the purpose of the Bible is essential, Shaddix said.

"What a preacher thinks about the purpose of the Bible is going to have a lot to do with how he uses the Bible in preaching," he said.

Shaddix believes the purpose of the Bible is to glorify God and to show His agenda of recreating mankind into His image. This purpose, he said, is exhibited through the Old and New Testaments.

"That's the way the Scripture opens, with the creation of heaven and earth and the creation of man in God's image," he said. "And that's the way the Scriptures close in Revelation, with the creation of the new heaven and the new earth and redeemed man fully realizing his transformation into the image of Christ."

"We don't have to feel pressure as preachers to make the Bible be or do something it was never intended to be or do," Shaddix said. "We are simply responsible for being faithful and letting the Bible speak ... and accomplish what it was intended to accomplish."

"Preaching is not intended to shape people from the outside in. It's intended to transform people from the inside out ... to transform them into the image of Christ."

Shaddix points out that "The Passion-driven Sermon" is not a "how-to" manual but a biblical philosophy and theology of preaching. In his previous book, "Power in Pulpit," co-authored with Jerry Vines, Shaddix offers an in-depth guide to the practice of expository preaching. However, his current book is designed to be a foundational apologetic for biblical, expository preaching.

"The Passion-driven Sermon," released May 1, is published by Broadman & Holman Publishers.

(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at Photo title: 'POWER IN THE PULPIT.'

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