“Expository” vs. “Topical”: Overstatement on Both Sides

If you go to certain conservative seminaries these days, you’ll probably see a heavy emphasis on what’s called “expository” preaching.  This is taught in contrast to “topical” preaching, which is often considered, implicitly or explicitly, inferior and less God-honoring.  Such criticisms have ruffled feathers of pastors who practice topical preaching, and some have shot back by calling expository preaching arrogant, disconnected, and sometimes even unbiblical.  One such article is this one here that was written a few years ago.

I myself engage in expository preaching the few times I’m in the pulpit, and even when I teach elsewhere, the majority of the time it is in an expository manner.  However, I agree that some who champion expository preaching do so in an overly superior way and that their arguments against topical preaching can be overstated and haughty.  Likewise, some responses against expository preaching are often too defensive and fail to see some of the good points brought up by those who prefer expository preaching.  I think it is more of a pro/con thing, rather than a matter of right or wrong.

Still, I do prefer expository preaching most of the time, and I’ll explain why this is the case, though I am not against topical sermons per se.  I will also discuss the potential advantages of topical teaching and argue that it is not wrong to do and can be very beneficial.

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Why Christians Need to be Careful and Nuanced With Boycotting

When Target announced their plans to allow people who identify as a certain gender to go to any bathroom they want, many conservatives threatened to boycott the supermarket chain and then carried it out.  Because of this, Target’s stock price has dropped like a rock, and while their corporate headquarters are pretending it’s no big deal, there’s no doubt that they’re feeling it.  After all, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of other options for people to do their shopping.

On the one hand, I don’t have much of a problem with people doing this.  Liberals have long threatened boycotts on things they don’t like, so they can’t really complain when someone pushes back in like manner.  Also, people are certainly not obligated to shop at Target and can choose to shop elsewhere for virtually any reason they want, such as disliking Target’s logo.  Such an action is well within their rights.

On the other hand, I think many conservatives, particularly Christian, need to be careful with public boycotts on companies that do things that we disagree with.  The reason is rather quite simple: A lot of companies do things that we disagree with, sometimes without us really knowing about it, and it is decidedly impractical to boycott everyone.  If we are going to publicly champion boycotting a certain company, we need to be clear with our reasons for doing so or else we make ourselves look self-contradictory when we don’t boycott another company.

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