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Expository Preaching: More Than “An American Thing”

inerrancySeminar06

Verse-by-verse exposition is vital to the health of the church. Christ speaks to His church through the Word, but if the Word is not systematically opened and set before Christ’s people, the church languishes. All of the TMAI member schools are devoted to strengthening local churches by training pastors and church leaders to faithfully preach the words of Christ. They teach the men to delve deep into the biblical context and evaluate the very words and phrases of Scripture.

There are two challenges currently facing the men at The Expositor’s Academy (TEA) in the Philippines. First, many pastors are hesitant to adopt expository preaching because they perceive it as being irrelevant. Second, some are resistant to expository preaching because they see it as a foreign style of preaching that is not the best fit for the Filipino context.

When it comes to the relevancy issue, they mistakenly believe that expository preaching doesn’t allow them to address the needs of their people. They also believe that this style of preaching is not practical, nor does it show people how God wants us to live today. As to the question of the expository preaching fitting into Filipino culture, some have said, “We like John MacArthur but that kind of preaching is an American thing. We have our own styles and methods.” It is crucial, therefore, that Filipinos see more examples of expository preaching from their own countrymen, in a culturally familiar style, in order to better welcome it in their churches.

That isn’t to say there is no interest. Toward the end of last year, TEA actually opened an extension campus to meet the increasing demand for biblical training in the southern part of the country, where there are already close to 150 students enrolled. But to overcome the hesitancy that some have, and to dispel the notion that expository preaching is an American import, the faculty at TEA are working on two fronts. First, they tirelessly hammer out the hard labor of training indigenous church leaders, knowing that these men they pour into will be the ones who will ultimately champion the exposition of God’s Word in their own country. Second, they are hosting fellowships and seminars, praying that these will eventually turn into full-fledged conferences to extol the worthiness of Scripture and necessity of preaching at the center of church life.

The most recent event, the first Expositor’s Fellowship, brought together around 50 pastors and offered three services to them: 1) an expository message was preached to showcase the power of God’s Word being rightly divided, 2) the preacher then spent time detailing the process he took in preparing the message, and 3) there was a final workshop offered to allow the participants to practice what was modeled and taught. These services gauge interest, provide opportunities for recruitment into the training program, and expose churches to verse-by-verse exposition.

We are praying for The Expositor’s Academy and the work being done in the Philippines. We also know that our God looks with favor upon those who tremble at His Word (Isaiah 66:2).