Pastor's Institute 2004 Summary

Well this year's Pastor's Institute 2004 has come and gone and as promised I will post here a summary of this year's course for those who might be interested in the subject of Experiential Preaching.

Each day began at 8:30 am with prayer and dedication of our time to the Lord. Dr. Joel Beeke was the main speaker. Below is a brief outline of the course lectures given each day.

GPTS Pastors’ Institute (July 26-29, 2004)
Dr. Joel R. Beeke


I. Introduction to "Experimental Preaching"

A. Introductory questions

1. What is experimental religion and experimental preaching?
2. What is the difference between insufficient "head" knowledge and saving "heart" knowledge?
3. Is there a difference between the terms experimental and experiential?
4. Why is the experimental dimension of preaching necessary?
5. What are some essential characteristics of proper experiential preaching?
6. How does the offer of grace function in experiential preaching?
7. What is the relationship between Reformed experiential preaching and Reformed piety or spirituality?
8. Why is it essential that the called minister be experientially prepared for the ministry?
9. What is the primary difference between preaching and lecturing?

B. Goals of course

1. Understand how the experimental dimension of vital Christianity was preached by the major Reformers, English Puritans, Dutch Second Reformation divines, and a few great preachers from each of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
2. Apply what we learn about experimental preaching to contemporary preaching.
3. Practice the basics of experimental preaching by writing a sermon sketch on a scriptural text which emphasizes the experience of vital Christian truth in the soul and life of the believer.
4. Develop a basic grasp of the primary strengths and weaknesses associated with experimental preaching.

C. Course assignments

1. Reading assignments (*purchase if possible)

*Adams, Jay. Truth Applied: Application in Preaching. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.

*Beeke, Joel R. Puritan Reformed Spirituality. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2004. Chapters 1, 4, 7, 14, 16, 18.
*Beeke, Joel R. The Quest for Full Assurance: The Legacy of Calvin and His Successors. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1999. Chapters 4, 6, 8-10, and appendix.
*Beeke, Joel R., ed. Forerunner of the Great Awakening: Sermons by Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen (1691-1747). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Chapters 1, 7, 11, 12, 14, 15.
*Bridges, Charles. The Christian Ministry. Reprint, London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1967, pp. 239-282.
Davies, Horton. The Worship of the English Puritans. Westminster: Dacre Press, 1948. Chapter 11.
Jennings, John. "Of Particular and Experimental Preaching," in The Christian Pastor's Manual. Reprint, Morgan, Penn.: Soli Deo Gloria, 2003, pp. 47-62.
Lewis, Peter. The Genius of Puritanism. Haywards Heath, Sussex: Carey Pub., 1976, pp. 11-52.
*Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Preaching and Preachers. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971. Chapters, 1-6, 9-11, 16.
Logan, Samuel T., Jr., ed. The Preacher and Preaching: Reviving the Art in the Twentieth Century. Phillipsburg: P & R, 1986. Introduction and chapters 2, 14.
*Martin, Al. What's Wrong with Preaching Today? London: Banner of Truth Trust, [1968].
Miller, Perry. The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century. New York: MacMillan, 1939. Chapters 2, 12.
*Packer, James I. A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1990. Chapters 1, 6-7, 10, 15, 17-18, 20.
Ryken, Leland. Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986. Chapter 6.

Recommended to consult, but not required reading:

Lewis, Peter. "Preaching from Calvin to Bunyan," in Spiritual Worship. Westminster Conference, 1985, pp. 33-50.

Levy, Babette May. Preaching in the First Half Century of New England History. New York: Russell and Russell, 1945.
Nixon, Leroy. John Calvin: Expository Preacher. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1950.

Nuttall, Geoffrey F. The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Practice. Reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
Old, Hughes Oliphant. The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church: Volume 4, The Age of the Reformation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
Old, Hughes Oliphant. The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church: Volume 5, Moderatism, Pietism, and Awakening. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
Pipa, Joseph A. "William Perkins and the Development of Puritan Preaching." Ph.D. dissertation, Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), 1985.
Teellinck, Willem. The Path of True Godliness. Trans. Annemie Godbehere; ed. Joel R. Beeke. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003.
van der Walt, A. G. P. "Calvin on Preaching," in John Calvin's Institutes: His Opus Magnum. Potchefstroom: Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, 1986, pp. 326-341.
2. An exam of six essay questions based on both class lectures and reading assignments ("open book" exam) will be given to M.Div and M.A. credit students on the last day of class.
3. A 10-15 page paper is required for M.Div and M.A. credit students which should be
(1) a study (scriptural, theological, historical, or a combination) of some aspect of experiential preaching;
(2) a study of a sermon(s) of a particular minister noted for an experiential emphasis in his preaching; or
(3) your own sermon (written out in full) based on a portion of Scripture which emphasizes spiritual experience.
An idea for a paper which does not fall within these parameters must be approved by me first.

II. Reformation Experimental Preaching
A. Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575)
1. Dependency on the Spirit
2. Sola scriptura
3. Solus Christus
4. The style and content of The Decades

B. Johannes Oecolampadius (1482-1531)
1. Establishing the homiletical practice of the Rhemish Reformation.
2. Experimental themes
a. Exposing sin
b. Reflecting on the consummation
c. Exercising repentance
d. Gleaning spiritual comfort
3. The context of experimental preaching: the glory of Christ
C. John Calvin (1509-1564)
1. The centrality, nature, and authority of preaching
2. Preaching in practice at Geneva
3. Stress on piety (pietas) in preaching
4. Experience as a theological/spiritual reality
5. Experience and its limitations as a hermeneutical key
6. The experience or sense of faith (experiential fide or sensus fidei)
7. Experience and assurance of faith
8. Experience, the Trinity, and election
9. Experience and self-examination
D. Theodore Beza (1519-1605)
1. Stress on preaching in Geneva
2. Sermons lack supralapsarian teaching
3. Similar Christological and soteriological emphases as Calvin
4. Tension between polemical and homiletical works
5. Importance of application
6. More rebuke than consolation
E. Heidelberg Catechism (1563)
1. Historical background, experiential order, method, and content
2. Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583) and Caspar Olevianus (1536-1587) on faith and assurance
3. Expounding the Catechism with an experimental emphasis
(Sample: Lord's Day 33, Questions 88-90)

III. Puritan Experimental Preaching

A. Introduction
1. Puritan Spirituality forwarded by preaching
a. Preaching at every opportunity
b. Lectureships
c. Sermon books
d. Training preachers
e. Prophesyings
2. J. I. Packer’s summary
3. Puritan Sermons, 1659-1689
B. William Perkins (1558-1602)
1. Perkins’s life and influence
2. Application of doctrine
3. Divisions of membership
4. Delivery of the sermon
C. Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)
1. Synopsis of his life and influence
2. Entertaining the Holy Spirit
a. The indwelling Spirit
b. The sealer of our souls
c. The Comforter
d. Grieving the Spirit
2. Preaching Christ: The Fountain Opened (1 Timothy 3:16)
a. "What it is to preach."
b. "What it is to preach Christ."
c. "What it is to preach Christ to the Gentiles."
D. Westminster Assembly (1643-1649)
E. John Bunyan (1628-1688)
1. Preaching from the heart to move the heart
2. Preaching to the heart
3. Preaching about the heart
a. The journey's beginning
b. The journey's progress
c. The journey's ending
F. Puritan Experimental Preaching Transplanted to America: Thomas Shepard
1. The Sincere Convert and The Sound Believer
2. The Ten Virgins
IV. Dutch Second Reformation (Nadere Reformatie) Experimental Preaching
A. Introduction
B. William Teellinck (1579-1629)
1. Life, sermons, and writings
2. Major themes: devotion, Sabbath-keeping, the Lord’s Supper, sanctification
3. The Path of True Godliness
C. The Canons of Dort (1618-1619) on Preaching
1. "Its urgency: the desperate plight of man"
2. "Its character: preaching as `means of grace'"
3. "Its content: reconciliation by and to God"
4. "Its approach: preaching as `unfeigned' call"
5. "Its aim: God's glory in the salvation of sinners"
D. Jodocus van Lodenstein (1620-1677)
1. Promoting experimental conventicles (gezelschappen)
2. Preaching experimental repentance and preparatory sermons:
Geestelyke Opwekker (Spiritual Awakener)
3. Sermons on John 17:3 and Matthew 24:12
4. Characteristics of preaching
E. Wilhelmus a Brakel (1635-1711)
1. The Christian's Reasonable Service (Redelijke Godsdienst)
2. Comforting and instructing the regenerate
3. Calling the unregenerate to repentance
4. Sermon on Ephesians 4:30
5. Duties of ministers
F. Theodore van der Groe (1705-1784)
1. Influence as a preacher
2. Proverbs 8:35a
3. The Publican's Prayer (Luke 18:13)
a. The publican's repentance: penitent feet; penitent eyes; penitent hands;
penitent mouth
b. The publican's petition: to whom he prays; for whom he prays; for what he prays
c. The publican's faith: believing in mercy; needing mercy; taking hold of
4. Conclusions
G. Dutch Reformed Experimental Preaching Transplanted to America: Theodorus
Jacobus Frelinghuysen (1691-1747)
1. Life and controversies
2. Proclaiming the doctrine of God experimentally
3. Preaching experimental godliness
4. Applying sermons to different types of parishioners
a. The strong or established Christian
b. The concerned Christian
c. The literal or learned but unconverted
d. The ignorant
e. The hypocrite
f. The openly profane
H. Summary
V. Post-Puritan Examples of Experimental Preaching
A. Eighteenth century
1. Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754) and Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)
a. Promises of God
b. Faith vs. Sense
2. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): "Great Guilt No Obstacle to the Pardon of
the Returning Sinner"
3. Samuel Davies (1723-1761): Convictive preaching
4. George Whitefield (1714-1770)
a. The power of the gospel
b. The primacy of biblical, personal preaching
c. The sovereignty of revival
B. Nineteenth century
1. Archibald Alexander (1772-1851): Discriminatory preaching "Living faith
vs. false faith"
2. Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843)
a. "The Inward Experience of Believers" (Rom. 7:22)
b. "Christ in You" (Col. 1:27)
c. Jehovah Tsidkenu
C. Twentieth century
1. Gerard Wisse (1873-1957): Christ’s prophetical office
a. How Christ teaches misery as Prophet
b. How Christ teaches redemption as Prophet
c. How Christ teaches sanctification as Prophet
2. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1900-1981): Instructional-experimental preaching:
"Imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1-2)

VI. Lessons on Preaching Experientially Today
A. Need for balance
1. Objective and subjective preaching
2. Sovereignty of God and responsibility of man
3. Experimental dimension but one aspect of preaching
4. Preach experientially with diversity by focusing on Scripture
B. Need for application
1. Prerequisites to effective application
a. Live close to God
b. Keep studying
c. Understand human nature
d. Know your parishioners
e. Speak naturally yet earnestly
f. Pray for continued dependency upon the Spirit
g. Cultivate pure motivation
h. Remain thankful for your lofty calling
i. Persevere by God’s grace
2. Application: preaching the truth
a. Preaching the truth about God
b. Preaching the truth about man
c. Preaching the truth about repentance
d. Preaching the truth about Christ
e. Preaching the truth about salvation by faith
f. Preaching the truth about the Christian
g. Preaching the truth to the conscience
h. Preaching the whole counsel of God: applying law and gospel to the
whole of life
3. Principles for making the truth relevant
a. Make biblical scenes and characters alive today
b. Employ illustrations for workaday world
c. Let application flow out of the text being expounded
d. Make the application specific
e. Provide right motivation
f. Bring forth things "old and new"
C. Need for cultivating holiness
1. In your preaching
2. In yourself as preacher
a. Prayer vs. ministerial prayerlessness
b. Humility vs. spiritual pride
D. Need for holy compulsion
1. Necessity is laid upon me to preach
2. Preaching Christ

VII. Closing Sermon: Luke 22:31-32

The last two days were taken up with workshops where we were to craft and aply the things learned by incorporating them into a sermon. It was a very worthwhile experience. I learned much and look forward to applying it to the ministry work the Lord has laid out before me.

Kind regards,