At least that is what Andy Stanley said in a recent interview
when asked what he thought about preaching verse by verse through books of the Bible. That is his first of two reasons why he does not believe in expository preaching.
It is obvious that Andy Stanley has never preached verse by verse through any book of the Bible because if he had, he would never make that statement. It is a challenge to give the true and real meaning of the text as intended by the author and as understood by the original recipients when you have to consider such things as historical background, the meanings of the original languages, the literary context, etc.
What is cheating because it is easy is what Andy engages in, topical sermons where you find verses to hang on your petty human thinking so that you meet the “felt needs” of people.
“In what more resembles “sermonettes for Christianettes”, casual discourses are becoming increasingly focused on massaging “felt needs” rather than allowing the biblical text to expose real needs.” – Steve Lawson(Famine in the Land)
Furthermore Andy does not believe in verse by verse preaching because that is not how you grow people. Andy is right. Ok now, just breathe for a moment and recuperate from what you just read. Andy is right in that simply preaching the Word is not how any person grows people. If you want to grow people, then follow Andy’s pattern. But if you want God to grow people, follow the pattern of the early church.
So how did the early church grow?
Answer: The conviction of the Holy Spirit and the sovereign call of God:
“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” – Acts 2:37–41
Answer: Simply the Lord:
“And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:47
Answer: The Word of God
“But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.” – Acts 4:4
“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” – Acts 6:7
And why did the word of God continue to increase?
“And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” – Acts 6:2-4
Andy Stanley must consider himself above the early apostles who considered it “not right” to give up preaching the Word. Instead of devoting himself to the ministry of the Word like the early apostles, Andy has devoted himself to “growing people” through marketing the seeker-sensitive way.
It would behoove Andy Stanley, and anyone else who is not committed to expounding the Scripture verse by verse, to heed the following prophetic words!
“To an alarming extent the glory is departing from the pulpit. The basic reason for this gloomy condition is obvious. That which imparts the glory has been taken away from the center of so much of our modern preaching and placed on the periphery. The Word of God has been denied the throne and given a subordinate place. Where such exposition and authoritative declaration of the Word of God are abandoned, Ichabod, the glory has departed, must be written over the preacher and over the pulpit from which he preaches.” – Merrill Unger