“Teach and urge these things.” (1 Timothy 6:2)
According to some thinking today, all hortatory material should be taboo from the pulpit. Believe it or not—people actually “exhort” us to refrain from using it in sermons!
Yup. Some systems of “Biblical Theology” (the discipline borrowed from the liberals that goes under that name), and ideas stemming from them, urge just that!
“Hard to believe.”
Yup. But true. Especially in light of verses like the one from 1 Timothy quoted above. If your preacher has been lured into this way of thinking—and preaching (you probably can tell from his preaching), beware!
“What should I look for?”
Well, let’s see. For one thing the lack of use of the second person “you” in addressing the congregation. And, especially, a lack of commands to obey. And the idea that you are just another person living out the history of redemption with little to contribute on your own by means of obedience, and – oh, well, you’ll detect it if you begin to look for it. I suggest that if it looks like that’s what he subscribes to, then you might ask him directly, “Are you a redemptive–historical preacher?”
Who knows? Give it a try and let me know.
But you’d better ask yourself and your family whether or not you have been getting the directions from the Bible that you should, whether or not you are being exhorted to biblical obedience, or whether (instead) you are getting interesting biblical history lessons. And then decide what to do.
Redemptive Historical materials are necessary for preparing messages, but the message should not become merely an historical essay, like Vos’, Grace and Glory were (even though they were called sermons). They were good essays, valuable material from which to preach—but not preaching to the hearts of man.