The Word is Alive and Active

Another one of my 7 Books for the Summer of ’17 is now complete. Pulpit Aflame is a collection of essays in honor of Dr. Steven J. Lawson, all dealing with the subject of preaching. Fifteen experienced men contributed to this valued resource: Dustin Benge, Iain Campbell, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Michael Haykin, John MacArthur, Conrad Mbewe, Albert Mohler, John Murray, R.C. Sproul, Derek Thomas, and Geoffrey Thomas.

The book is broken out into four parts: the mandate, meaning, motivation, and method of preaching. I found it to be very helpful, and was especially convicted by something Dr. Albert Mohler had recorded in his chapter on “Preaching as Exposition.”

Often I have quipped, “God has spoken to us through His Word,” but it is wrong to end my sentence there. Call it careless. A statement such as this places the power of God’s Word in the past tense—it treats the Bible as a dead historical document. Dr. Mohler explains:1

Pulpitaflame__85834.1483115011.315.315I fear that there are many evangelicals today who believe that God spoke but doubt whether He speaks.  They know and talk about the fact that God spoke in the Old Testament but think now that He no longer does so and that they must therefore invent new ways to convince people to love Him.  But if you call yourself a preacher of God’s Word, and you think that all of God’s speaking was in the past, then resign.  I say that with deadly seriousness.  If you do not believe that God now speaks from His Word—the Bible—then what are you doing every Sunday morning?  If you are not confident that God speaks as you rightly read and explain the Word of God, then you should quit.

But if you do believe that—if you truly believe that God speaks through His Word—then why would you substitute anything else in place of the expository preaching of the Bible?  What is more important for your people than to hear from God, and how else is that going to happen unless you, like Ezra, open the book, read it, and explain it to them?  Just as in Deuteronomy, this is a matter of life and death, and far too many pastors who deeply believe that God does speak have abandoned His voice in Scripture.

Wow. He is right to rebuke us, for James tells us there is a “stricter judgment” awaiting those who handle His Word (James 3:1). If you fall into this category of a teacher/preacher, then be sure to reread what Dr. Mohler has written.

May we never-ever stand before others treating the Bible as something that is lifeless and lethargic. Just the opposite! Let God speak!! He has not only spoken “in the past” (Hebrews 1:1-2), but He does so now through His Holy Scripture—it is both “alive and active” (4:12).


 Pulpit Aflame. Edited by Joel R. Beeke and Dustin W. Benge (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016). 67.