What I loved about this book is that it is both theological and cultural. Mohler is concerned with both the theological argument for preaching as rooted in Scripture and how the preacher is to preach in the culture in which we minister in. The preacher is both a theologian and at the same time an apologists.
First, the preacher is a theologian. This is so critical, that he dedicates an entire chapter to this argument. But there are several points he raises that I would like to emphasize. First, true preaching is the center of worship, not just what follows. Mohler points out that it is the sermon that stands as the climax of the worship service. Worship is more than getting us pumped up for a lecture. Rather, the music is only the beginning. It is the sermon where Scripture is laid out, defined, explained, applied, and the people are edified.
Secondly, preaching is trinitarian. I really enjoyed his chapter on this issue. We are given a word from God and we speak "Thus saith the Lord." We preach Christ and Him crucified. And it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that dying men are brought back to life. This trinitarian understanding of preaching, I believe and Mohler argues, is critical to a faithful minister charged with the responsibility of preaching. What does God say? How does it relate to the gospel? And how will the Spirit move in response?
Thirdly, biblical preaching is expositional. Mohler defines expository preaching as the:
mode of Christian preaching that takes as its central purpose the presentation and application of th etext of the Bible. All other issues and concerns are subordiated to the central task of presenting teh biblical text. As the Word of God, the text of Scripture has the right to establish both the substance and the structure of the sermon. Genuine exposition takes place when the preacher sets forth the meaning and message of the biblcal text and makes clear how the Word of God establishes the identity and worldview of the church as the people of God.
That definition is clear enough. Let the text drive the sermon, the meaning, the application, the organization, and everything else.
I also liked how Mohler applied preaching to our cultural context. He took the time to explain what expository preaching looks like in our postmodern culture. Postmodernism brings about it many challenges. How do you despense truth to a culture that no longer believes in it?
And this leads to the climax of Mohler's discussion of preaching in light of the culture. After discussing what preaching must look like and accomplish in the midst of postmodernism, Mohler gives the reader hope. Taken from perhaps his best sermon, "Can These Bones Live?" Mohler presents the text of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones. There, Ezekiel is commanded to preach to these dry bones.
Can these bones live? is the question he is asked. One question and one answer: "Oh Lord, you know." That is the right answer. Mohler can think of no greater illustration of what it is like today preaching to a people that have become and are becoming postmodern: a valley of dry bones. But there is hope. Just as God was able to raise forth an army from those dry bones through the medium of preaching, so too God can raise an army of men and women and it will be through the medium of preaching that God brings about this great work.
As ministers and preachers of the gospel do we honesty have this great hope? Do we stand before our congregations and believe that God will raise up an army of what was once dry bones? If not, then your preaching will be dull. In fact, Mohler argues, you should step down and abandon the ministry all together. Only God can bring to life the dead, and it is God who has chosen to use preaching as the way He does His work.
Mohler concludes with fitting words for the preacher. The epilogue looks at the preaching ministry of the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon. Mohler notes the passion that Spurgeon had for exposition and proclamation. Spurgeon truly was a one of a kind, but Mohler is left asking:
Where are the Spurgeons of this generation?
To read my review of Mohler's other books: