Apologetics in Preaching

Dayton Hartman says apologetics must be part of a healthy preaching ministry. He see’s a two-fold problem:

There is a two-fold problem at hand:

  1. In our proclamation we have assumed a Christian worldview on the part of our listeners, and this is a false assumption.

  2. As we are communicating poorly, our audience isn’t even listening.

The solution?

The solution to this growing problem is to recapture the apostolic method of preaching. The first sermons of the apostles do two things: (1) make much of Jesus and His gospel and (2) defend the truths contained in the gospel.

He goes on to explain:

The text of Scripture is so littered with apologetic elements, I would argue that it is difficult to preach the whole counsel of God without incorporating apologetic elements into one’s sermons.

How does incorporating apologetics into our sermons work itself out practically? Quite often, apologetics should be included out of necessity.

Read the full article here.


Preaching Benefits from the Cutting Room

Michael Kruger has a helpful article on cutting material out of  your sermon.

And once you have your God-given audience in mind, then suddenly you have a reason to hone, shape, mold and craft the sermon to connect with the people to whom you are preaching.  And when you do that, some things get left out.  Some points aren’t as important as others.  Some illustrations just don’t work.

And this is, by far, the hardest part of sermon prep.  It is one thing to sweep together a bunch of information about a passage. It is quite another to shape that content with real people in mind.

Put simply, preachers need to make a distinction between mining and sifting.  Mining is the hardcore research that draws the raw material of a passage together. Sifting is the hard work of picking the jewels out of that material that are needed by your congregation. We do mining because we are textually-oriented. We do sifting because we are people-oriented. Good preachers do both.

Don’t Settle for Your Mediocre Preaching

On his Gospel Coalition blog, Paul Tripp makes some important observations on the state of preaching today. Tripp prefaces his comments by relating that he is on the road at a church somewhere 40 Sundays a year.

I am saddened and distressed to say it, but I am tired of hearing boring, inadequately prepared theological lectures, delivered by uninspired preachers reading manuscripts, all done in the name of biblical preaching. I am not surprised that peoples’ minds wander. I am not surprised that people are struggling to keep attentive and awake. I am surprised that more aren’t. They are being taught by one who has not brought the proper weapons into the pulpit to fight for them and with them.

Part of the problem is not understanding what preaching is.  Tripp defines preaching as…

…bringing the transforming truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ from a passage that has been properly understood, cogently and practically applied, and delivered with the engaging tenderness and passion of a person who has been broken and restored by the very truths he now stands to communicate. You simply cannot do this without proper preparation, meditation, confession, and worship.

Further, he draws attention to one of the primary culprits.

There simply is no way that you can begin to think about a passage for the first time on Saturday afternoon or evening and give it the kind of attention that it needs. You will not be able to understand the passage, be personally affected, and be prepared to give it to others in a way that contributes to their ongoing transformation. As pastors, we have to fight for the sanctity of preaching, or no one else will.

The entire article can be read here.

A Preachers Decalogue, Sinclair Ferguson

This month’s Themelios has an article written by Sinclair Ferguson where he lists ten things he wishes he had been taught as a young preacher.


1. Know Your Bible Better
2. Be a Man of Prayer
3. Don’t Lose Sight of Christ
4. Be Deeply Trinitarian
5. Use Your Imagination
6. Speak Much of Sin and Grace
7. Use “the Plain Style”
8. Find Your Own Voice
9. Learn How to Transition
10. Love Your People

You can find the article here.

Hughes Old on the Preaching of MacArthur

Hughes Oliphant Old has published his last volume on the history of preaching, and he has some interesting comments to make regarding the preaching ministry of John MacArthur.  Hughes Old isn’t someone that I have terribly high regard for, because he has some unfortunate liberal leanings in Biblical interpretation, such as not believing in Satan as a person.

Yet it’s interesting to see his perspective about MacArthur, and the praise he offers, though in an underhanded way.

Phil Johnson has published Hughes Old section on the preaching of MacArthur on his blog.