Friday, September 30, 2005

Only 31 Shoppings Days Left 'Til Reformation Day!

Throughout the month of October, we'll be posting several articles, weblinks and other helpful information about the Reformation of 1517, so be watching the blog.

In the meantime...

In honor of every good Calvinist's favorite holiday...
and just in good 'ole fun...we present:

The Reformation Polka
by Robert Gebel

Sung to the tune of "Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious"

When I was just ein junger Mann I studied canon law;
While Erfurt was a challenge, it was just to please my Pa.
Then came the storm, the lightning struck, I called upon Saint Anne,
I shaved my head,
I took my vows, an Augustinian! Oh...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

When Tetzel came near Wittenberg, St. Peter's profits soared,
I wrote a little notice for the All Saints' Bull'tin board:
"You cannot purchase merits, for we're justified by grace!
Here's 95 more reasons, Brother Tetzel, in your face!" Oh...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exempleror;
The Pope, however, hauled me up before the Emperor.
"Are these your books? Do you recant?" King Charles did demand,
"I will not change my Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand!" Oh...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Duke Frederick took the Wise approach, responding to my words,
By knighting "George" as hostage in the Kingdom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin's model if the languages you seek,
Stay locked inside a castle with your Hebrew and your Greek! Oh...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Let's raise our steins* and Concord Books while gathered in this place,
And spread the word that 'catholic' is spelled with lower case;
The Word remains unfettered when the Spirit gets his chance,
So come on, Katy, drop your lute, and join us in our dance! Oh..

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

*The Bible Church of Little Rock and 222mission does not promote nor condone the raising of "steins"...the drinking from steins...the collecting of steins...the franken of steins...nor the shopping at Steinsmart. :o)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jim Elliot, Missionary, Martyr, Man of God

Wednesday night at 222mission, we heard brief sketches and insights into the life of Jim Elliot and the story of the Auca Indian massacre in January 1956. The primary work cited was The Journals of Jim Elliot, edited by Elisabeth Elliot. Clicking here will take you to amazon's page.

Here's a link to a bio of Jim's life - I'm not sure how accurate it is. And also the Billy Graham Center Archives link where you can borrow audio sermons and other archival material about Jim Elliot (Sorry, it was incorrectly said that one could hear Jim's sermons online, however you can possibly "check out" the tapes by clicking here.)

Below are just a few topical headings used to sum up different quotes from Jim regarding different subject matter. These page numbers are from an earlier edition (than above) of the book, so they may be off a page or two, but the dates should aid in locating each entry. This is a good read and is recommended, especially if you've already read Shadow of the Almighty, Through Gates of Splendor and/or Passion and Purity.

Allegorical Bible Interpretation

January 19 – pg 14
February 23 – pg 29
March 17, 19 – pg 39-40
E.E.’s intro – pg 203
January 16 – pg. 208

Legalistic tendencies

Feb 13 – pg 24

“Self righteous” thoughts

January 29 – pg 18


April 16 – pg 49
October 18 – pg 95
October 22 – pg 96
November 20 – pg 474 – struggles with devo’s
December 31 – pg 475 – last journal entry, ever.


Page 93 – Devo’s 3 x’s, including Greek
January 9 – pg 205 on Forgiveness (Heb/Rom)
December 5 – pg 353 on preaching with power

Against “easy-believism & decisionism”

April 12 – pg 442-443

Elisabeth(Betty or Betts) Howard

June 8 – pg 64-65
September 20 – pg 84
September 22 – pg 85
October 18 – pg 346
August 6 – pg 406
January 16 – pg 464 – married life


December 2 – pg 190 (on letter from Betty about “love”)

August 26 – pg 410


December 19 – pg 194
December 25 - pg 197-98
July 31 – pg 404-05
March 25 – pg 440
March 29 – pg 441-2
June 13 – pg 446
July 21 – pg 449

Great Quotes

January 29 – pg 18 “light these idle sticks…”
February 2- pg 20 “make my way prosperous…”
June 18 – pg 69 “fix my heart wholly…”
October 27 – pg 97 “send trouble that I might know peace”
April 27 – pg 129 “Word & the Cross”
October 28 – pg 174 “He is no fool…”
November 24 – pg 186 “firmness without hardness…”
November 29 – pg 188 “God’s quietness”

Use of Greek in study

November 10 – pg 181

Calvinist or Arminian??

January 19 –pg 14
November 9 – pg 180
February 3 - pg 214

Interesting(?) Interpretations

March 24 – pg 43 “finger of God’
September 30 – pg 344 (or prophetic on Christ’s wounds/suffering)

“Prophetic” Utterances/Heaven

October 9 – pg 91-92
October 22 – pg 96
October 28 – pg 97
November 1
November 6 – pg 178
December 31 – pg 200 First mention of Ecuador
January 4 - pg 204-05

August 22 – pg 409-10

And don't forget the viewing of Beyond the Gates of Splendor,

NEXT WEDNESDAY, October 5th at 6:30! We'll probably show the movie back to back, to allow the orchestra students to see it after their practice.

And lastly, a few notes & comments about ALLEGORISM:

Allegorism – beneath the literal meaning of Scripture was the true meaning.

hidden meaning – Grk “hyponoia”
If literal sense was body of Scripture, allegorical sense was it’s soul.
Literal meaning wasn’t useless, but was for the immature

If there are no cues, hints, connections, or other associations which indicate that the record is an allegory, and what the allegory intends to teach, we are on very uncertain grounds.
-Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation

The Christian church up to Reformation, had pure motives for allegorizing – the OT was a Christian document…(OT conceals what NT reveals), but they used it to excess.

Historical sense was usually ignored
Unfamiliar with progressive revelation
Considered OT & NT filled with parables, enigmas & riddles
Blurred allegorical with typical

They did, however, retain the true Gospel & kept in central (as did Elliot)

“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hand of the exegete.” – Ramm

“When the historical sense of a passage is once abandoned there is wanting any sound regulative principle to govern exegesis…The mystical [allegorical] method of exegesis, is an unscientific and arbitrary method, reduces the Bible to obscure enigmas, undermines the authority of all interpretation, and therefore, when taken by itself, failed to meet the apologetic necessities of the time. – K. Fullerton, Prophecy and Authority, p. 81, quoted in Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation

Misinterpreted 2 Corinthians 3:6 “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”

Luther of allegorism: “dirt…scum…obsolete loose rags…a harlot…a monkey game” (but only for Catholics, if Christians used it for Christ, then it was somewhat allowed)

Reformers solidified proper hermeneutics – Luther, Calvin, Puritans – even so, post-reformation brought on “tyrannous confessionalism; the curse of exorbitant systems; the curse of contentious bitterness…The read the Bible by the unnatural glare of theological hatred.” – Farrar

Out of the post-reformation stiffness came “pietism”
Pros: Devotional & practical emphasis in Bible reading is necessaryCons: Easy to allegorize (esp. OT when it’s more “dry”), and Devo’s may substitute for the necessary spade work of exegetical studies.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

When Does 2.22 Meet?

2.22 meets weekly on Friday nights, at 6:30pm in the Activity Center of the Bible Church of Little Rock. We meet for fellowship (& good food!), worship, preaching, and small group accountability/prayer.

The Bible Church is located at 19111 Hwy 10/Cantrell Rd in Little Rock, Arkansas.

For more info...
You can contact the church at 501-227-4980
or email Jeff Crotts or Aaron Wilson

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Jeff Crotts' Sermons and Mexican Food


Be watching the 222mission blog for links to Pastor Jeff's messages from Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. The obvious benefit for posting this audio will be for those who are unable to attend. Specifically, if you'll be attending a small group study on a campus or within the city, and weren't able to hear the Sunday am lesson on Bible Doctrine, you'll want to listen before you meet so you'll be able to contribute to the discussion.

Also, we'll be posting (pending copywrite permission) the study questions and possible the outline from our Bible Doctrine class for your further study. Please see the earlier blog entry if you're interested in ordering the book (not mandatory).

So keep watching the blog for Jeff's first posted message from Psalm 32 entitled:

Forgiveness: Lifting the Whole Enchilada of Sin

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Email Call

If you are not already receiving email notices for 222mission and would like to, please email Aaron Wilson so he can put you on the email list. Whereas most dates and information will be posted on this blog, there will be occasions when timely announcements will be made via email.
By the way, if you've never received a 222mission email from Aaron, then we don't have your email address.

C'mon, be a neighbor! Thanks so much!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem

Beginning Sunday, September 18th (in Room 210), 222 will have our own Equipping Hour class at BCLR. Pastor Jeff Crotts will be the primary teacher, and we will be working through Wayne Grudem's Bible Doctrine. This is a new, condensed version of his extremely popular Systematic Theology.

It is not mandatory that you buy this book
to attend the new Equipping Hour class, but it is highly recommended!! It's a great volume to add to your library.

You can look inside and/or purchase this book at or perhaps cheaper at
Again, it is not mandatory to buy this book , it's only recommended because of it's scholarship and readability.

You can keep up with what chapter we'll be covering via our
new calendar, and discussion questions will be supplied for use in any weekly small groups that are ocurring throughout the week. You may also leave your comments and questions here as you either read through this text or attend equipping hour.

Passion '06

Interested in going? Check out the 268 Declaration below, the Passion website and contact Peter Witkowski if you're interested.

268 Declaration
"Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your Truth,we wait eagerly for You,for Your name and Your renownare the desire of our souls."Isaiah 26:8
I desire that my life be a part of a generation that livesfor the glory of Your name. (Psalm 86:11-12)
My desire is reflected by the following statements and prayers:
Because I was created by God and for His glory, I will magnify Him as I respond to His great love. My desire is to make knowing and enjoying God the passionate pursuit of my life.
[God, give me a desire for You like the desire that You have for me.]
Colossians 1:16-18, John 17:3, Revelation 3:20, Philippians 3:7-10, Jeremiah 9:23-24, Psalm 73:25-28, Psalm 16:11, Isaiah 43:7
Because Christ established the Church for God's glory, I desire to magnify God as I use the gifts He has given me to serve and build up the local church. I will pray for continued renewal in my church through the work and power of the Holy Spirit.
[God, renew in me a love for Your Church, the Body of Christ.]
Ephesians 3:20,21, 4:1-13, 5:25-27, Hebrews 10:23-25, Acts 2:41-47
Because God is glorified greatly when believers love each other, I desire to magnify Him as I humbly yield to and pray towards unity among all Christians on my campus.
[God, give me a desire to lift up Your name above all other names.]
John 17:20-26, John 13:34-35, 1 Corinthians 3, Psalm 133:1, Colossians 3:12-17
Because many on my campus are hopelessly separated from God, I desire to magnify Him by sharing the life and love of Jesus where I live. As I share, I will earnestly pray for revival on my campus and in my world.
[God, break my heart for those with whom I live.]
Romans 10:11-15, Isaiah 6:1-8, 62:6-7, Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Peter 2:9-12, Philipians 2:12-16, 1 John 5:14-15
Because God is seeking worshipers of all peoples, I desire to magnify Him among the nations. I actively commit my life and energy to participation in His global purposes in my generation.
[God, kindle in me the desire to go anywhere, at anytime, at any cost, to do anything to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.]
Psalm 86:9, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Isaiah 49:6, Revelation 5:9-14, Matthew 28:18-20, Psalm 67, Acts 1:8

[2000-2004 passion © all rights reserved]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Why I Do What I Do The Way I Do It

The Biblical Basis and Theological Significance
of Expository Preaching
By Jeff Crotts


I was a Christian for about a year before I was exposed to expository preaching, and once I tasted it my hunger quickly grew to hear the preaching of the Word primarily in this way. My new ranking of expository preaching over other forms wasn’t speaker-based as much as content-based due to what this kind of preaching brought to me. Frankly, what I was hearing in these expository sermons was better because these sermons drew me into the Word of God. They were teaching not only who the Bible authors were and what they said, but also who the original recipients of the instruction were. I found myself responding to preaching in a new way, now clearly seeing the implications of Scripture as they were brought to bear on my life. As a newborn babe in the faith, my thirst for the truth was being slaked for the first time (1 Peter 2:2). Also, I was gaining greater access to the Scriptures than ever before – now knowing how to read, study and think my way through a Bible book. It didn’t take me long – in fact, after my very first exposure to expository preaching - to conclude why expository preaching was changing my world. It’s biblical! The Bible says to preach this way – the Bible describes, defines, and commands preaching to be expository preaching (Nehemiah 8:8, 1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 4:2).

Expository Preaching Definitions

Though theologically, philosophically, and methodologically expository preaching is derived from Scripture – different authors (most of whom are preachers) on the subject preaching define it in a variety of ways. A noted scholar put it this way: “Most of us who aspire to employ the method [expository preaching] believe that it is synonymous with truly biblical preaching, yet pinning down a working definition of it is not so easy.”[1] Because of this noted elasticity I’ve chosen several definitions in order to capture expository preaching’s differing angles along with its common biblical themes.
“Expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through him to his hearers.”[2] “[It’s]…essentially the practice of explaining the meaning of a passage of Scripture…The expository sermon should, I believe, be defined in terms of the preacher’s method and approach irrespective of its results.”[3] At essence expository preaching is “Bible-centered preaching.”[4] Another man of God captures what expository preaching is by saying that “expository preaching is the Spirit-empowered explanation and proclamation of the text of God’s Word with due regard to the historical, contextual, grammatical, and doctrinal significance of the given passage, with the specific object of invoking a Christ-transforming response.”[5] “Exposition presupposes an exegetical process to extract the God-intended meaning of Scripture and an explanation of that meaning in a contemporary way.”[6] “Expository preaching sheds some ordinary light on the path that leads to understanding a text…The right amount of light expertly shined not only exposes the path but also helps those on the path to find their own way in the future.”[7] One succinct way to boil it all down is to say “it’s the proclamation of the truth of God as mediated through the preacher.”[8] Ultimately, no matter how it’s defined or nuanced, the expositor is commanded to grammatically, exegetically, historically and theologically interpret and proclaim the Scriptures with biblical accuracy and Spirit-energized power as a kingdom messenger and disciple maker. These are some of expository preaching’s “primary components:
1. “it clearly derives its content from the Bible;
2. it accurately explains what the Bible is saying; and
3. it effects the change God intends for the Bible to effect.”
This last component, which is based on life “change” or “effect,” has - in my opinion - been a neglected emphasis in expository preaching as of late. However, based on how Jesus’ preaching ministry often challenged his hearers saying “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15; Luke 8:8; 14:35,) along with the apostles Paul and James’ New Testament emphases to hear and obey the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:2; James 1:22-25) this third principle a necessary aspect of expository preaching.

Principles of exposition

Applying these definitions and understanding the “how-to” of biblical preaching is both practical and necessary for the preacher, because otherwise it’s all just theoretical. If the preacher neglects thinking through the principles of exposition or the action-steps for expository preaching he might fall prey to what could be called preaching an academic data-dump. To avoid doing this, the preacher must understand that “to expound is not simply to give the correct grammatical sense of a verse or passage, it is rather to set out principles or doctrines which the words are intended to convey… [in other words it’s] doctrinal preaching [conveys] specific truths from God to man.”
[10] To help the preacher reach this high goal, here are five “minimal elements:
1. The message finds its sole source in Scripture.
2. The message is extracted from Scripture through careful exegesis.
3. The message preparation correctly interprets Scripture in its normal sense and its context.
4. The message clearly explains the original God-intended meaning of Scripture.
5. The message applies the Scriptural meaning for today.
Practically speaking, this is the way men of God have preached for thousands of years. Ezra, the quintessential model for expository preaching, is pictured handling the OT Law “translating to give the sense so that they (the Israelites) understood the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8). Another clear biblical “example is Jesus’ expounding of Isaiah 61:1-2 in the synagogue (Luke 4:16-22).”
[12] This passage clearly shows Jesus’ value for biblical exposition (cf. Luke 24:27 - Jesus’ teaching on road to Emmaus). Here Jesus deliberately chooses to expound the words from Isaiah as the way to tell the world why he was here and what he aimed to accomplish while on planet earth. In essence, Jesus again gave the sense of the passage.
Ultimately all preachers should follow these examples, preaching like Ezra and Jesus, possessing both skills for communicating the meaning of the Word along with humble hearts and minds that bow to the authority of God’s Word. Regarding skill, the expositor must be able to connect the biblical time period and customs to the here and now. And if he is unable to bridge these two worlds – biblical times to present day - then he risks turning a preaching moment into a classroom lecture. However, when this skill is developed and practiced in the pulpit, the exposition promises to be both profound and compelling.
Regarding humility toward Scripture, “it is only when mental labor passes beyond the bounds of common sense that the mind becomes enfeebled by it, and this is not usually reached except by injudicious persons…but…to young men like ourselves the vigorous use of our faculties is a most healthy exercise.”
[13] I was taught early on that when preparing to preach the difference isn’t how many times you go through the Bible, but how many times the Bible goes through you. This is the Bible’s challenge for the man of God: to work hard and study (2 Timothy 2:15) while not trusting in rhetoric nor man’s wisdom to change the hearts of people (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). The Bible gives fair warning that if the preacher is not faithful to this task then judgment awaits him (James 3:1). Consequently, the right attitude for the expositor boils down to one essential thing – that of being wholly dependant on God (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). “Unless…wholesale dependence on God marks the modern expositor’s preaching, his exposition will lack the divine dimension that only God can provide.”[14]

Theological significance of biblical preaching

As stated earlier, the Bible models and describes preaching as expository preaching, which is the reason that it makes sense to preach this way. 2 Timothy 3:16 declares Scripture to be “inspired by God - profitable for teaching, for reproof , for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Simply put, because the Bible is “inspired by God” - literally breathed out by God – by God whose nature is impeccably perfect (Matthew 5:48; Titus 1:2), we know that it is perfect (Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect”). This of course is the doctrine of inerrancy, which automatically affirms expository preaching. “With a commitment to inerrancy, the expositor is equipped with a true message, with true intent, and with true application. It gives his preaching perspective historically, theologically, contextually, literally, synoptically, and culturally. His message is God’s intended message.”
[15] “Inerrancy demands an exegetical process and an expository proclamation. Only the exegetical process preserves God’s Word entirely, guarding the treasure of revelation… Expository preaching…is the essential link between inerrancy and proclamation…mandated to preserve the purity of God’s originally given inerrant Word and to proclaim the whole counsel of God’s redemptive truth.”[16]

Identification of biblical preachers and examples of biblical preaching

Not only is expository preaching rooted in biblical theology (i.e. inerrancy) it is also documented throughout biblical history. “The expository sermon is the systematic explanation of Scripture done on a week-by-week, or even day-by-day, basis at the regular meeting on the congregation. This practice goes back to the worship of the synagogue long before the time of Jesus, when the Law was read through Sabbath by Sabbath, beginning each time where one had left off the Sabbath before. The idea was that the whole Law would be regularly read through in the course of worship.”
[17] Moses, one of God’s first preachers, marks an historic precedent for how preachers handle God’s Word today. When Moses received the Law directly from God, what he did first, there at the foot of Mount Sinai, was read it - some say Moses preached it - to the people with great solemnity. A second significant preacher in biblical history was Ezra, a man whose ministry, like Moses’, was precedent-setting. Ezra stands out as Israel’s key spiritual leader during Israel’s reconstitution after exile (see Nehemiah 7:5ff.), and the way he lead God’s people was by reading and explaining the Law – God’s Word. Nehemiah 8:8 is clear - the Law was read from beginning to end and then explained. Here God established a tradition that carried on throughout Old Testament times up through Jesus’ ministry. Jesus read and expounded the Law during temple worship on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16 “As was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read”). The Apostle Paul, in the same way, establishing the New Testament church, read and explained the Scripture in the synagogues on the Sabbath (Acts 17:2 “Paul…as was his custom…on three Sabbath days…reasoned with them from the Scriptures”). Understanding this long-standing biblical history clearly shows why the New Testament church is designed to gather corporately for the public reading and expository preaching of Scripture (1 Tim. 4:13). Consequently, this tradition has rightly been passed down throughout the centuries beginning with the early church to present.
Rehearsing this legacy of the public reading and preaching of God’s Word serves as a timely reminder of the value of biblical exposition in the church today. Beginning from the earliest biblical history to present here is a brief overview of the mountain-peak expositors from Moses to present documenting this means of grace – preaching.
Moses, as I mentioned before, was a trailblazing preaching. He received the Law of God at Mount Sinai and his first step was to publicly read it to his congregation – Israel. Moses’ preaching doesn’t stop with public reading but immediately (like all expositors must do) calls the congregation to commitment - to obey God’s word (Exodus 24:1-11).
[18] I believe in this context Moses was fulfilling the ministry of an expository preacher. Even though he was reading the Law he had received directly from God, note that Exodus 21-23 is an exposition of the Decalogue from Exodus 20. The case can be made that chapters 21-23 of Exodus, though inspired Scripture, is also preaching – maybe the first of its kind.[19] This is found again in the book of Deuteronomy, which is the second Law or reiteration of the Law. What was the content of Moses’ preaching? Simply put he emphasized three things:
1. “remembrance…recounting God’s saving acts…
2. interpretation…elaboration and application of the law…[and]
3. constant urging that Israel be obedient to the Law.”
From Moses’ ministry of the Word it can be seen that preaching was then, and remains today, the means by which “we [God’s people] experience God’s presence.”
[21] In essence God chose to reveal himself through heard truth, and this auditory ministry stood in stark contrast to the rebellious visually-driven idolatry which Israel so quickly fell into (Exodus 32). The New Testament says it this way: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). “God has not revealed himself to our sight but rather to our hearing; he has revealed not his form but his will.”[22]
Though prophets are typically held out as the preachers of the Old Testament, the priests also exercised a ministry of interpreting the Word of God. “Priests were concerned with the interpretation and application…as it was revealed in the Law of Moses, while the prophets were concerned with proclaiming the Word of God as God revealed that Word directly to the prophet.”[23] Samuel, for instance, functioned both as priest and prophet, both presiding at a sacrifice at a high place where Saul sought him out to inquire of the LORD, and soon after anointing Saul as the first King of Israel. However, because Saul disobeys the Lord early in his reign, Samuel taking his prophetic role proclaims God’s judgment to Saul in stinging rebuke (1 Samuel 15:22 “To obey is better than sacrifice”).[24]
Isaiah, a man who interceded for Israel in a priestly role (Isaiah 6:1-7,) is also known for his ministry as prophet. He was a man whose life was given to receiving and preaching oracles from God (Isaiah 6:8). Like the other prophets, Isaiah’s prophetic preaching at times expanded beyond his immediate audiences. For instance, when King Ahaz spurned Isaiah’s message to him, his reply turns out to be the wonderful Messianic promise of the birth of Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14-17). This being the case, its important to remember that the prophet’s primary role was calling people of their own day to repent and obey the Lord (Isaiah 1:2-31) along with explaining it.[25]
Understanding prophecy like this reveals clear parallels between prophets and preachers. For instance, the very obvious homiletical nature and delivery from prophets like Amos is noticeable when read in terms of its original context.
[26] Understood this way, the prophets were men of God who were preachers.
By the same token, some of the Wisdom literature should also be remembered in the subject of preaching and biblical history. For instance, the book of Ecclesiastes is known as a sermon preached by Solomon the preacher (Ecclesiastes 1:1). Because of this, I’ve heard it suggested that not to teach Ecclesiastes as a sermon is to do an injustice to the book, since it is a written sermon.
The New Testament wastes no time highlighting the preaching ministry of John the Baptist. This prophet and preacher’s life was given to declaring the coming Christ, and calling men to repent and believe (Mark 1:4; John 1:15, 29.)
[27] John’s preaching ministry appropriately fades to the background when the preaching ministry of Jesus comes on the Jewish scene (Mark 1:14).
Jesus’ entire ministry was summarized in his exposition from the text he chose in the synagogue – Isaiah 61:1-2. From this, “the principle that Scripture is to be interpreted by Scripture was…well established.”
[28] “The sermons of Christ…the Sermon on the Mount… [and] at Nazareth, are modes of explanation and exposition for all time.”[29] When Christ preached “’you have heard that is was said…but I say to you…’ In so doing, He instructed and enlightened His listeners and amplified the text, much to the people’s amazement.”[30] Jesus above all else was a kerygmatic or gospel preacher, expounding passages from Isaiah 56, Psalm 111 and Psalm 118. His preaching “proclaims that the promises of God have been kept and the Scriptures have been fulfilled…”[31] Jesus also instructed in an ethical dimension (i.e. The Sermon on the Mount). When preaching what’s known as The Sermon on the Mount “Jesus interprets a number of the cardinal precepts of the Law, the commandments of the Decalogue itself.”[32] Jesus’ ministry as the preacher of preachers manifested itself in all dimensions including parables (where Jesus masterfully used analogy and illustration), woe judgments (Matthew 23), prophecy, and commissioning his followers to be preachers (Matthew 28:18-20).
The early church was initiated through expository preaching. Much of the preaching from Acts is gospel preaching that centers on redemptive history. “The messages of Peter (Acts 2:14-36), Stephen (Acts 7:2-53), [and] Paul (Acts 17:16-31)…have elements of both revelatory and explanatory preaching.”
[33] The common call is for the hearers to repent and believe. These preachers made connections between OT prophecies and the Messiah. There was also an equally great emphasis in the early church on regular teaching (Acts 2:42 and 6:4 clearly indicate this priority).
The Apostle Paul, as the preeminent leader, preacher, and teacher in the New Testament church, was consumed with preaching – specifically with preaching Christ (1 Corinthians 1:23, 2:2, and 2 Corinthians 4:5). Throughout the book of Acts and the Pauline epistles it’s clear that he preached Christ by expounding the Scriptures (Acts 17:2-3). One thing is certain: Paul not only preached, he deeply believed in the power of preaching (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). He understood preaching as a “means of grace” which is instrumental for all who would believe (Rom. 10:14-15, 17).
[34] Even though for Paul, preaching was his life, the majority of what we have from Paul isn’t sermons but letters to the church, or epistles. Still it is from these NT epistles that we have a strong awareness of what his preaching was like. This is because these letters are, in a very real sense, sermons. “They were not carefully written out by someone sitting at a desk; they were poured out by someone striding up and down a room as he dictated, seeing all the time in his mind’s eye the people to whom they were to be sent.”[35]
For the first four hundred years of the early church, there were “many preachers but few true expositors.”[36] This is known to be the case because of the small amount of expository material that came out of the post-NT church era (i.e. the apostolic fathers - ca. 96-125).[37] In the third century Origin stands out as a leading preacher. This is not only because he possessed a brilliant mind, but also because the majority of existing third century preaching material is from Origin. Though Origin interpreted the Bible allegorically, because his preaching was biblically driven he was used to resurface interest in expository preaching in the church.[38] Origin’s view of Scripture is the reason behind his great commitment to it. Old makes the point that “somehow Origin sees the simplicity of Christian preaching as a witness to its divine authority. It convinces not because it is elegant, but because it is true… because it’s divinely inspired…”[39] Perhaps because of this high view of the authority of Scripture Origin’s sermons from Genesis and the Gospel of Luke are recorded in a consecutive fashion. Another positive side to his preaching was his method of explaining Scripture with Scripture – especially in regard to his affirmation of the Old Testament (even with his faulty allegorical hermeneutic).[40] John Chrysostem (347-407), another man from this preaching era “rejected the allegorical approach…[and] preached verse-by-verse and word-by-word expositions on many books of the Bible…[his] preaching was characterized by simple Bible exposition…of morality rather than dogma.”[41]
Apart from a few splinter groups during the medieval period, the trend in the church through the ages was allegory rather than exposition until the likes of John Wyclif (1330-1384) and William Tyndale (1494-1536).
[42] Then came the dawn of the Reformation Period (1500-1648) with great preachers like Martin Luther whose conviction to preach came from the reformation doctrine “Sola Scriptura” which meant “the freedom of Scripture to rule as God’s word in the church.”[43] Luther knew of the transforming power of the Word because he “became a believer through his efforts to learn and expound the Scriptures.”[44] John Calvin was known as “the most significant expositor of the Reformation era,” and valued “clarity and brevity” as virtuous in preaching.[45] This conviction is reflected by Calvin commenting on Isaiah 55:11: “The Word goeth out of the mouth of God in such a manner that it likewise ‘goeth out of the mouth’ of men; for God does not speak openly from heaven, but employs men as his instruments, that by their agency he may make known his will.”[46] Finally, the Puritans beginning in 1649 through the end of the eighteenth century saw “the distinguishing mark of true Chrisitanity as compared with religion.”[47] A puritan like Richard Baxter represents his passion for preaching when he said, “I preach as never like to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”[48] After the puritans there were John C. Ryle (1816-1900), Charles Haddon Spurgeon, D. Martin Lloyd-Jones and today John MacArthur who have faithfully heralded the truth – through expository preaching.

Effects from biblical preaching

Faithfully preaching God’s Word always brings one of two results in the spiritual realm. There is either a receptivity to the Word accompanied by what Paul calls “a fragrance from life to life” or a hardening of heart which Paul calls “a fragrance from death to death.” Only God opens blind eyes to receive the proclamation of Scripture (2 Corinthians 4:2-6), still the preacher must interpret God’s Word accurately and trust Him for the results. Remember the results after Paul preached the resurrection of Christ to the philosophers at the Areopagus: “Some mocked. But others said, ‘We will hear you again about this.’...some men joined him and believed” (Acts 17:32-34). We should expect no less and no more.

[1] Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), p. 119.
Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible, p. 120 quoting from Haddon W. Robinson, Expository Preaching, (Leicester: IVP, 1986) p. 20.
Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible, p. 120.
Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible, p. 120, quoting from Sidney Greidanus, The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), p. 11, quoting from Merrill Unger, Principles of Expository Preaching (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1955), p. 33.
Stephen F. Olford and David L. Olford, Anointed Expository Preaching (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1998), p. 69.
John MacArthur, Jr. et al., Rediscovering Expository Preaching (Dallas: Word, 1992), p. 3.
Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), p. 99.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 24, quoting D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), 222.
Michael Fabarez, Preaching That Changes Lives (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2002), p. 15.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 12, quoting Lloyd-Jones from Iain H. Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1961 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1990), 2:261.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 12-13.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 13.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 16 quoting Charles H. Spurgeon, Commenting and Commentaries (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1876), p. 47.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 19.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 30.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 35.
Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, Volume One: The Biblical Period (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), p. 9.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 22.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 24.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 37-41.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 26.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 39.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 41.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 44.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 39.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 56-58.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 40.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 102.
MacArthur, Rediscovering, p. 40.
MacArthur, Rediscovering, p. 40.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 119-120.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 139.
MacArthur, Rediscovering, p. 41.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 182.
MacArthur, Rediscovering, p. 41.
MacArthur, Rediscovering, p. 44.
MacArthur, Rediscovering, p. 44.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 44.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 309.
Old, Reading and Preaching, p. 314, 319.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 44-45.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 46.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 47.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 47.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 49, quoting from T. H. L. Parker, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 51.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 49, quoting from John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 22 vols (reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981), 8, 2, 172.
MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 51, quoting from D. M. Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1987), 380.
[48] MacArthur et al., Rediscovering, p. 53, quoting from Clyde E. Fant and William M. Pinson, Luther to Massillon 1483-1742 (20 Centuries of Great Preaching), 13 vols., (Waco, Texas: Word, 1971), p. 238-239.

Mahaney Ministers the Gospel

A few comments from one of our own 222ers:

Alright, C.J. Mahaney is an incredibly humble man. Sunday morning's message was incredibly humbling and revealing to me. It revealed my own sin ( as intended) and created in me a desire to kill it. I want to be like the Philippians 2 man who has the attitude of Christ "who, though He was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped." (vs. 5) Wow!

C.J. Mahaney was the personification of this in my mind, though I know he is a sinner merely because he is human. He was adamantly thankful and humbled that anyone would even ask him to give his testimony or preach. He is an incredibly thankful person as we all should be. He also, at least for me, did a wonderful job of reminding me that temptation to sin will always be there. For me, in my fight against sin, this is important to remember: temptation is not sin, giving in to it is. I will always be tempted it's what I do with that temptation that's important. I can give in or fight. Since my mind is by nature wicked and apart from the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit can do absolutely NOTHING good, I must fight. It's my duty to fight. Romans 8 says that if I'm not killing sin, I will die! Why? Because I'm evil deep down. It's only by God's grace that I can fight. Since I'm justified in Christ, I can fight. Since Romans 8 also says "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (vs. 1), I can fight. Praise God that I can fight for a greater joy, a greater pleasure than my sin. May I never forget the facts of the gospel... that I'm a wretch at the deepest level, a former enemy of God who by God's amazing mercy, looks on me through His only Son Jesus Christ and declares me justified for His name's sake! That's the gospel C.J. Mahaney preached to me.

Did the Mahaney's minister to your soul this past weekend? Leave a comment!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Our Fearless Leader

So just how much do you know about Pastor Jeff Crotts? We all know that he shares a love for God's Truth along with the other pastors at the Bible Church, as well as a love for good books.
Here are a few of Jeff's all time favorite books:

Our Sufficiency in Christ by John MacArthur
The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Don Whitney
Power Encounters by David Powlison

What is Jeff reading right now?

"I just finished a book called
Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Goldsworthy (great book!) , I am currently reading University or Destruction (see earlier blog), and I'm scanning D.A. Carson's book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church as well as Jim Eliff's reprint of George Mueller's biography.

And now for the fun stuff... 20 things you always wanted to know about Jeff Crotts but were afraid to ask:
  1. your birthday: 2-22-72
  2. where were you born: Delaware
  3. brothers/sisters: one brother - 3.5 years older - pastor
  4. favorite food - Taco Bell
  5. favorite color - blue... orange sometimes
  6. when were you married: May 31, 1997
  7. children's names - Riley, Logan, Emmie
  8. favorite fun activity to do with your family - fish at the park, go to the Zoo
  9. favorite thing to do with Judy - get coffee and read across from each other
  10. what's in your cd player right now? - Dr. Bill Barrick (TMS prof) preaching Ps. 51
  11. something others would be suprised to know about me: I was a jr. high wrestler - weight class - 77lbs.
  12. and the dinner question: any five dinner guests, dead or alive: - the dream team? All the preachers from Together for the Gospel
  13. favorite Bible verses - Joshua 1:9, Ps. 37:4 and Ps. 40, 2 Cor. 4:4
  14. favorite surfing moment - surfing at Cape Hatteras, NC next to a guy from Boston as a 16 year old - it was my best day
  15. where were you when you saw Judy for the very first time - top of the steps of the Dorm I was a Resident Dir. of at Master's College - 1st day of school for her.
  16. the most rewarding thing about your job: Making Disciples
  17. when I'm gone, what I want others to say about me - I can't believe he was a pastor
  18. your favorite childhood pet & it's name - a Cockapoo (Benji dog) 'Blackie'
  19. most embarrassing moment - You don't want to know
  20. most influential person in your life (besides Jesus) - Judy and my brother

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Post Retreat Blogging

On August 5-6 of this year, 37 men & women attended the first annual 222mission Fall Retreat at Ozark Conference Center in Solgohachia, Arkansas. Jim Eliff, of Christian Communicators Worldwide, was our guest speaker. The topic was "The Agressive Holy Spirit" and we discussed both the Spirit's work in regeneration, and our work in evangelism.
If you attended this retreat, we'd love to hear your feedback regarding what you took away from the four lessons...scripture truths you'd never thought of, evangelism strategies, new resolutions in the area of evangelism, comments from reading Jim's book, "Pursuing God" etc.
Hopefully this will spur some good discussion among our group, since we didn't have any small group discussion during the actual retreat (note to self: we will next year, Lord willing!).

New Reformation Website & Blog

I was just made aware of this fairly new site hosted by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. They have their own blog, on which you'll see the names of some heavy hitters among the reformed circles of today.
As always, use discernment when visiting any sites linked from this page, even so, you'll find some great material here.