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Loss of exposition in the pulpit

 

As a layperson and as a Southern Seminary student preparing for a teaching ministry, I am greatly saddened by some of the Georgia Baptist pastor quotations found in the recent Index article on plagiarism. I think there is at least one unavoidable ethical issue here that ‘authentic clergy’ (I mean men actually called of God to study and preach the word.) must consider.

While the article did deal with the issue of plagiarism, I think it failed to deal with the far greater issue of the loss of real exposition in the pulpit. Young ministers across the country are regularly allowed, encouraged, and now even exhorted to abandon traditional sermon preparation and study time.

A minister should never, never, never enter into the pulpit without first thoroughly acquainting himself with the text. I am talking about real and devoted study time. I am talking about prayerful and devoted consideration of the biblical texts themselves.

If one actually does this, then who cares what kind of ‘pop tart’ illustration is coming from Rick Warren this week? My own father, who is a Georgia Baptist pastor in small town, weekly outlines and diagrams his texts in the original language before entering the pulpit.

I am not saying that to be an ‘authentic clergyman’ you have to have a grasp the text in the original languages. I am saying that on Monday morning, if you want to call yourself a minister of the gospel, an ‘authentic clergyman,’ you need to pour gas on the fire and regularly devote yourself to the Scripture.

I am convinced that the dumbest and most uncultured minister in Georgia can do more for the cause of Christ if he pours his heart over the biblical texts and simply preaches the text, than all the cake-baking ministers in the Atlanta metro area.