Preaching in a Postmodern World
Albert Mohler Jr.
Mohler begins his book about preaching by outlining recent developments in the changing of preaching. In many churches, preaching has changed from expositional preaching to “counseling sessions” from the pulpit. Now more than ever, we need a return to expositional preaching. Congregations are not being fed from the Word of God.
In the preface, the author presents six problems contemporary preaching has caused. Preachers do not confront their congregations with the Word of God. In chapter 1 he talks about how preaching is the center of Christian worship. We need to understand what worship is today. Today’s worship is full of entertainment instead of a focus on God. He offers an understanding of worship from Scripture.
In chapter 2, Mohler talks about preaching as a way to reveal God to the world. Preaching bears witness to what God has said about slightly themselves the Cross. Preachers don’t focus on Christ and the Cross. They are giving their people everything but Jesus, God’s Word, and the Cross of Christ. They entertain their people and treat the Bible as a book that is not authoritative. It is not about the preacher but about Jesus.
The author extols expository preaching as the most effective and accurate form of preaching in chapter 3. When preachers preach, they must read the text of the Bible and explain it. In the Bible, God speaks while idols do not speak. We must hear God speak to us through preaching today. Saving faith only comes from God’s Word.
In chapter 4, he further explains what expository preaching is. Expository preaching explains and applies Scripture to the congregation. Preaching must bring its listeners to a choice. We must realize the authority of the Bible. We must have reverence for God’s Word. Expository preaching must be the center of our worship.
In chapter 5, Mohler makes the case that the preacher preachers from the authority that comes from the Bible. A church should be known for great preaching that puts Christ at the center. A preacher receives his authority by the call of God on his life. Every preacher should make his aim to present those who hear the Word mature and complete in Christ. The preacher must reprove, correct, and worn people according to the Word. People must grow in Christ through preaching.
In chapter 6 the author tells us pastors need to preach the big Story of Scripture and connect the passage to the rest of God’s word. Postmodernism rejects the big story. In contrast, Christianity is the big story all smaller stories most explain themselves against. Every passage of the Bible points to Christ. He explains how Scripture has four movements that all the passages fit into.
The pastor is a theologian according to the author in chapter 7. Theology has become associated with academia instead of the pastor. The pastor teachers and preaches the Word. The pastor today is pulled in so many directions that it’s hard to focus on teaching and preaching. Pastors often have administrative duties, ministry leadership, and visitation. What pastors need to focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word. The pastor must not teach what others say, but most preach and teach out of their personal theology gleaned from Scripture and experience.
In chapter 8, Mohler has a heart to heart to preachers. Preaching is a lot different than it used to be. He walks through the changes postmodern philosophy wants to make our culture. This is the most helpful chapter in the book. The author explains how postmodernism affects Christianity and the story of the Bible. He points to apologetics and the example of Paul at Mars Hill in Greece.
The author encourages preachers to preach the gospel because people need to hear it, and it is the only way for people to Christ. In this ungrounded culture, people need to hear about the foundation of Jesus. He explains the good news and how it can change unbelievers. We need the gospel more now than ever as a culture changes because of postmodernism.
In the final chapter, Mohler encourages preachers to preach and not worry about what others think. God will speak through the words given by the preacher. He invokes the passage in Ezekiel 37 where the dry bones are brought to life because of the prophecy of Ezekiel. In the same way, pastors are calling dry bones to life through their messages and the power of the Spirit. The challenge is before the preacher.
The author offers an epilogue about an example of a great preacher, Spurgeon. Like Spurgeon preachers today can influence this generation in this postmodern age and let the Holy Spirit speak through them according to God’s Word. I liked reading Mohler’s writing because he admonishes and encourages the local pastor. So many books take the pastor to task instead of lifting him or her up. The author organizes the book well and stays accountable to the topic of each chapter. I am a proponent of expository preaching, so I didn’t need convinced by the author. I think he could be a little more open to different styles of preaching that still exposit the text of the Bible. I would recommend this book to any preacher who needs encouragement.