Jason Allen – What is Biblical Preaching?

Evangelical ministers generally agree that preaching is God’s appointed means to proclaim the gospel and instruct the church. Yet, within evangelicalism, precisely how one is to preach the Bible remains a contested topic—and one with huge ramifications.

Though I sometimes wrestle with what text to preach, I never wrestle with how to preach it. I determined long ago for every sermon to be an expository one. For me, biblical preaching is expository preaching, and expository preaching is biblical preaching. Let me explain why.

Why Biblical Exposition?

First, expository preaching best fulfills the biblical commands regarding preaching. Prescriptively, passages like 2 Timothy 4:1-5 and 1 Timothy 4:13–16 call for a Word-centered ministry. These injunctions are straightforward. There is no question as to whose Word or which Word; we are to preach the Word. In fact, if Timothy and Titus got anything out of their Pauline correspondence, it was that they were to preach the Word with authority and faithfulness.

Descriptively, throughout the Bible, and especially in the book of Acts, we repeatedly see a model set forth for preaching. For example, Peter and Paul explain the Old Testament and bring it to bear. This is no coincidence. Implicit within the call to preach is the call to preach the Scripture, and expositional preaching best fulfills this biblical command.

Secondly, expository preaching affirms a high view of Scripture. It is one thing for theological liberals—who disavow the inerrancy of Scripture—to not preach the Word, but it is altogether another thing for evangelical preachers to neglect the Bible. To do so is illogical, and it undermines one’s claim to believe in the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:

Jason Allen – 10 Tips for Leading Kids to Christ

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/lVCHfXn3VME

My greatest stewardship in life is not training a generation of students at Midwestern Seminary. It is training my five young children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I feel the weight — and glory — of this stewardship daily and find immeasurable fulfillment and joy as I see my children taking steps toward Christ.

I am sure many Christian parents feel the same way I do—awestruck by the opportunity and responsibility that is ours. In fact, my wife Karen and I are often asked about building a Christian home and rearing children who grow up to follow Christ. We will be the first to admit that we are far from accomplished. On the contrary, we just keep plugging away, seeking the Lord’s grace in our children’s lives, as in our own.

This is definitely not an article about “success, and how we have achieved it.” Rather, as the old adage goes, we are beggars telling other beggars where we have found some bread. If you are seeking to influence little ones toward Christ, you might find these ten tips helpful:

1. Remember, children do not have to become like adults to be saved; adults have to become like children. When Jesus made this point in Matt. 18, he was not referring to spiritual innocence. Rather, he commended a spirit of humility, dependence, and deference—virtues which are common in children and essential for whoever would follow Christ.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:

Jason Allen – How Do You Know if a Sermon is Expository?


What constitutes an expository sermon? Better yet, how might the preacher know if he has preached an expository sermon, and how might the congregation know if they’ve heard one?

The question is a bit more angular than one might initially perceive. It is a question that has struck me in recent months, as I have heard multiple preachers describe their preaching style as expository. Never mind that they give little attention to interpreting the text, applying the text, or actually preaching the text.

Regrettably, the title “expository preaching” has grown so elastic that it has become an almost inadequate, if not altogether unhelpful, designation. Much preaching gets crammed under the heading “expository preaching,” though it bears little resemblance to classical exposition.

In fact, the designation “expository preaching” has become like the designation “evangelical.” There is enough residual respectability in these labels that many want to cling to them, even if their theology or preaching methodology have long since given up any true resemblance to it.

So, what constitutes an expository sermon? Expository preaching begins with a commitment to preach the text. This commitment is rooted in the Bible’s self-attestation that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” and that the preacher’s primary task is to “preach the Word.” As he does, the preacher stands on promises like, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the lord endures forever.”[1]

These passages, among many others, provide a rationale for biblical exposition, but they do not delineate its essential, distinguishing marks. A consensus definition of expository preaching proves stubbornly elusive, but there are three essential marks that are supported by Scripture and consistent within most classical definitions of the term. Consider how Alistair Begg, Haddon Robinson, and Bryan Chappel define expository preaching.

Begg defines expository preaching as, “Unfolding the text of Scripture in such a way that it makes contact with the listener’s world while exalting Christ and confronting them with the need for action.”

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:

Jason Allen – 3 Motivations for Parents to Avoid

3parentstoavoid As the father of five young children, I live with an ever-present awareness that my greatest stewardship is my children. Many men can preach a sermon and more than a few can be a seminary president, but only one can father these five children.

Thus, my wife and I approach our family with a profound sense of stewardship and intentionality. As parents, we are practitioners, but also observers, always seeking to learn and improve in order to be most faithful.

Over the past decade, I’ve witnessed in others—and, unfortunately, in myself—three parental motivations to avoid. Like weeds that force their way through the best-cultivated garden or thickest concrete, these motivations seem stubborn, always reappearing; resilient, always resurfacing.

In fact, if I could wish away three parental motives from my heart, and from others, it would be these: ambition, fear, and pride.

Parenting out of Ambition

Parenting out of ambition occurs when we channel our goals through our children. Mothers do this when they vicariously cheer through their daughters and fathers do so when they vicariously play sports through their sons. At a deeper level, this occurs when parents require of their children a level of commitment and accomplishment they never attained.

Parental ambition drove Hans Luther to deter his son, Martin, from entering the ministry. Luther’s father desired him to study law that he might enjoy financial gain and social respect. Had he been successful, Hans Luther would have deprived the church of one of one of its greatest gifts and delayed the much needed reformation and revival he brought.

There is a difference between aspiration and ambition. It is right to have aspirations for our children and to cultivate in them a healthy sense of ambition. But it is wrong to channel our ambitions—whether for their lives or our own—on them, especially when those ambitions are man-centered and not God-centered.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:

Jason Allen – Where Are The Godly Men?

Jason Allen Where have all the godly men gone? These days I ponder that question with increased frequency and concern. If the lack of godly men were only a matter of personality or ministerial preference, then little would be lost. Such is not the case, though. The church is in great need of awakening and renewal; and, in the spirit of Richard Baxter, its greatest need might well be godly men.

Not that long ago, “man of God” was a common and honored descriptor in the church. The phrase ranked alongside “great preacher,” “brilliant theologian,” or “gifted writer” in frequency and surpassed them in value. Now, it seems as though the designation “man of God” has gone the way of the bus ministry and the youth choir—a largely passé referent to a bygone era of church life.

It is as though someone snuck into the shopping mall of the Kingdom and changed all the price tags, upsetting and inverting God’s value system. We have increased the mundane and ancillary aspects of Christian ministry, all the while cheapening its true virtues and values. In God’s economy, though, character is valued over talent, and holiness over giftedness.

Why So Few Godly Men?

Why is there a dearth of godly men? Admittedly, godliness is nearly impossible to measure, and godly men are nearly impossible to quantify. Yet, three factors seem especially to contribute to the paucity of godly men.

Many churches don’t seek men of God. Given the complexity of modern ministry, many churches prioritize giftedness and experience above godliness in their candidates for ministry. Churches often look for competent administrators, capable speakers, polished people skills, a cute family, and other secondary concerns before assessing the heart. Like ancient Israel, we have the propensity to look on the outward; all the while God looks on the heart.

Many ministries no longer necessitate godliness. There may now be more distance between the minister and the congregation than ever before in the history of the church. Through the years, pastors have lived among their people (New Testament), by their people (parsonage), and near their people. Now, everything from the size of the church to the expansion of auxiliary campuses has created distance between the pastor and his people. Moreover, video-screen pastors often have no relationship at all with their people.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us: