“I’ve watched congregations get healthy and grow closer together under the faithful teaching of the Scriptures. I’ve also watched congregations drift and die as the pulpit became shallow, trendy, and biblically weak.” Chuck Swindoll, Dallas Connection, Autumn, 1997 (Vol.5, No.2) as quoted by Dr Richard Grubbs in IFCA, Voice Magazine, Theology to Doxology: Forging the Vital Link No one would argue against the idea that Christians must learn the Bible. No genuine Christian, with their right mind, would deny the need to have the Bible as the centerpiece of Christianity and where worship, praise, doctrine, counsel, advice, etc. hinges on. It appears to me that the Bible, among other vital things, is at least superficially considered the critical element to substantial growth and vital Christian living. Yet, what we see in churches today keeps certain peoples’ heads turning. The so-called Bible teaching that is pumped out of the pulpits today seem to contradict what people may say. Why is this? Well, part of the reason that Bible exposition is given lip-service is due to the pressure on churches to succumb to trends, fads, novelty, entertainment, felt needs, etc. If you follow the trendy and the hip you are bound to get wrapped up in it. This I say because the reality is that many I know have gotten too entangled with what’s new, what’s selling, what’s the superstars doing, or what’s next! Indeed Swindoll’s words are so accurate to the problem today. His key words are: “faithful teaching of the Scriptures,” vs. “the shallow, trendy, biblically weak.” What Dr Swindoll is saying is that Bible exposition is a second rate ministerial priority to those who see faithful teaching as superfluous. The shallow and the trendy and the biblically weak have replaced solid, quality, and powerfully, biblically saturated “teaching!” You say, teaching? What does he mean by this? Well, many today like to make a distinction between preaching and teaching. Some say, “Well, this preacher is a preacher and this one is more of a teacher.” Some say that in order to grab people’s attention you must be more of a preacher! Now, what they really mean is that you are not as hip, story telling, shallow, and trendy in order to keep the attention of self-indulgent church goers. This is really what people mean. Now, I’m not saying you need to be boring, dull, monotone, and lack passion; a preacher-teacher that is this way is not a real preacher-teacher. In other words, what they really mean is that they don’t want heavy stuff vs. Bible exposition: because it causes me to think too much, and therefore, I need to exert too much effort and so it becomes irrelevant to me. Beloved, don’t you see that the fruit of solid Christian living is watered in the garden of solid expository preaching and teaching! Notice, preaching and teaching! Preaching describes the faithful proclamation of the Bible and teaching describes the faithful systematic impartation of instruction and knowledge. Both are essential. Both are not mutually exclusive. Both play the tune of Bible exposition in harmony. You need to have both. There is no such thing as a preacher vs. a teacher. Therefore, the pulpit must reflect faithful preaching and teaching, and this, must be faithful exposition of the Scriptures. In order for us to be genuine, authentic, and authoritative Bible preachers we cannot skim through the Bible and tell an inordinate amount of anecdotes, stories, and pop-culture current events. Let us be faithful to preach-teach the whole counsel of God; and faithful congregation, be faithful to pray and support solid Bible exposition even when it takes effort on your part and it hurts. (cf. 2 Timothy 4:1-3)   

Pastor Jim Cater