Below is an excerpt from Mark Dever’s The Deliberate ChurchIn this segment he details the rationale for expositional preaching and the reasoning against pragmatic church-building methodology.  Any “end that justifies the means” philosophy of ministry will inevitably compromise doctrine and make its stand on what man says is effective rather than what on the Word of God says is true.  Mark Dever’s reasoning below is logical and will hold true if carried out.


What you win them with is likely what you win them to.  If you win them with the Gospel, you’ll win them to the Gospel.  If you win them with technique, programs, entertainment, and personal charisma; you might end up winning them to yourself and to your methods.  But it’s likely that they won’t be won to the Gospel first and foremost.   (2 Cor 4:5)

The implication is that once you try to turn the corner from technique, program, or entertainment to the Gospel, it’s likely that you’ll either lose them, or they will be converted to you, not Christ.  The Gospel of Christ has never needed the gimmicks of man to effect conversion in the soul.  (Romans 1:16)

Let the content of the Gospel do the work.  This doesn’t mean you have to be intentionally boring.  But it does mean you have to be intentionally self-effacing.  Illustrations from personal experience are often subtly self-serving.  People love them because they tell them about you; but this is precisely what the true Gospel minister wants to be careful about in the pulpit – not because he doesn’t want to be “authentic,” but because such illustrations usually attract more attention to ourselves than to the Gospel. 

Let them hear Jesus saying the hard truths of the Gospel.  Present them as His words, not yours.  If they’re really Christians, His words will have more pull with them than yours; and if they’re not, His words will be more effective in penetrating their hearts than yours will.  This is why the expositional form of preaching is so important, not only at the outset but as a steady diet for the congregation – it presents the point of the text as the point of the sermon, grounding the authority of the sermon in the authority of the Scripture.