Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reflections on Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop

Yesterday I attended the Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.  The workshop was held in their impressive new conference center, the Riley Center.

David Allen began with "Introduction and Structure of Hebrews."  He briefly discussed the leading candidates for authorship of Hebrews before concluding with the most likely candidate (in his view), Luke.  He then went over the structure of Hebrews, beginning with an outline based on the linguistic structures of Hebrews, which becomes the basis for the thematic outline.  The thematic outline then can become the framework upon which to build one's expository preaching.  Allen is of the conviction that exegesis must precede theology.  Hence, when preaching through a book of the Bible, one should determine the overall flow of thought to see how the individual passages fit within the larger argument of the book.  Steven Smith built upon Allen's outline to provide a "Preaching Plan for Hebrews."  He also provided examples of how to use expository preaching to preach a series based on key words or on thematic elements. 

After an outstanding lunch, Herbert Bateman discussed the "Warning Passages in Hebrews."  When preaching the warning passages, one should consider the historical context for Hebrews, the literary challenges of Hebrews, before considering the pastoral concern in Hebrews.  One must understand how the author of Hebrews weaves together exposition and exhortation.  Despite what one might think is going on in the warning passages, Jesus is the focus.  He is the regal priest and turning away from him will result in undesirable consequences for the believer.  Many of his handouts are pre-published material that will appear in his forthcoming book (2011), Charts on the Book of Hebrews, which will be part of the Kregel Charts of the Bible and Theology series. 

Calvin Pearson discussed "Rhetorical Techniques in Hebrews."  He contends that "rhetoric is the study of how we are persuaded, based upon how God structure our minds."  He identified a few rhetorical techniques and illustrated them in Hebrews.  Understanding rhetorical techniques helps us not only to understand what is going on in Hebrews, but also can help us improve our proclamation of the Word of God.

Finally, Matthew McKellar, modeled expository preaching with a sermon on Hebrews 13:9-16 entitled, "We Have An Altar!".  He argued that the revolutionary sacrifice of Jesus for you demands a radical surrender from you.

I felt somewhat of a celebrity there.  David Allen recognized my name from this blog and then he introduced me and announced this blog to the attendees and so I had a bunch of people come up to me asking for my blog address.  So, if you are new to this blog and are reading this, welcome.  I will eventually add a tab for links to preaching resources on Hebrews.

Afterward, I had a nice chat with Dr. Allen and we got to know one another a little and we discussed his commentary and some theology.  Since, I will be reviewing his commentary shortly, I discussed some of my critiques of his book, and he took it all very graciously.  Dr. Allen is not a Calvinist, but he does believe in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.  I am, of course, an Arminian and don't believe in that doctrine (although I do believe that the saints should persevere).  But we were able to discuss our differences amicably.  Dr. Allen is a gracious man, who combines confidence with humility--something that more academics should learn to do.  I hope that it is the beginning of good friendship with Dr. Allen.  I guess this means I'll have to be nice to him when I critique his commentary ;-)


  1. Hey Brian, so you know if SWBTS is going to make the conference available for download on their site? Just wondering if you heard anything in this regard. Hope the studies are going well at BU. Allen's commentary is quite good from what I have read of it. For the series it is in, it is very good. Thanks brother, and pray all is well my friend.


  2. Cliff, not to my knowledge. We did have a chance to order CDs of the conference, so they might make them available for purchase by others who did not attend.