A Book Review from Books At a Glance
by Daniel L. Arter
The link between presuppositional apologetics and expository preaching is one that is apparent to anyone who has a deep love for presuppositional apologetics and expository preaching. Anyone who takes seriously the inerrancy of God’s Word ought to see how the two concepts interact and work ultimately toward the same goal—the proper understanding of God’s Word and how we ought to apply it in life. Lance Quinn utilizes his book to point the reader to this connection in a way that expertly weaves the ideas of various presuppositional apologists and well-known expositional preachers to provide a solid argument for the realization of this link between two complementary concepts.
The book is divided into eight chapters that are used by Quinn to define both expository preaching and presuppositional apologetics while also including examples and evidence to bolster the claim of the author. It is clear from the beginning of the book what the author’s intent is—to “assist preachers and apologists in defining expository preaching as well as presuppositional apologetics” and “to make the case that these two ministries . . . are the best approaches to teaching God’s Word to His people and defending the faith against unbelievers.” (2) He then utilizes various examples from the Old and New Testaments as well as examples and statements from presuppositional apologists and expository preachers to prove the validity of his argument.
Quinn starts by providing a definition of expository preaching, which he defines as “the explication of the Word of God by seeking to unfold the meaning of that Word to sinful men and women for their good and God’s glory.” (3) He then takes this definition and gives three propositions to the definition of expository preaching—pray the biblical text (4), preach the biblical text (5), and principlize the biblical text (6). The result of which would be a sermon that is utterly rooted and grounded on and in the biblical text. To help bolster his definition of expository preaching, he does provide other definitions from other expositors (7-11) before expounding briefly on how expository preaching interacts with different genres of Scripture (11-13) and explaining the emphasis or purpose of expository preaching (13-17).
In chapters two and three, the author utilizes selected passages of Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments. I found these chapters a little unusual in their wording—in particular, the author’s definition of preaching in these chapters seems a bit broad (19); but the intended point of the author is very clear—he is utilizing Scriptural evidence to prove that even God proclaims His own Word as an expositor ought to proclaim God’s Word. Because of the broad definition of preaching utilized in these chapters, there are some examples that seem weak. For example, Quinn utilizes the example of God speaking to His creation in the Old Testament as preaching and the first example given is a conversation between God, Adam, and Eve (22-23) before giving a list of other conversations held between God and His creation (e.g., God speaking to Cain, God directing Noah, God speaking with Moses, etc.) (23-24). Classifying a conversation between God and man as preaching might be a stretch (would that make every conversation in which God’s Word is utilized preaching or proclamation?) He does, however, strengthen his argument later in the chapter when he utilizes passages like Jeremiah 1:9-12 and Isaiah 66:1-2 to prove that God does indeed proclaim or preach His own Word. The strength of Quinn’s argument is really in the third chapter, which focuses on the proclamation of God’s Word done through Jesus and then through the apostles and eventually concerning the biblical authors—more time spent on the New Testament writers’ words being attributed to God would have been beneficial.
After chapter three, Quinn’s focus shifts to defining presuppositional apologetics and he relies heavily on presuppositional leaders such as Van Til and John Frame for his definition (59-67) before giving additional statements that aid in his primary argument. In his chapter defining presuppositional apologetics, he ties presuppositional apologetics with expositional preaching by stating, “Their common denominator is their mutual tethering to Holy Scripture as their primary tool for evangelism or apologetics and the pulpit . . . It goes to the very heart of the necessary and compatible relationship between apologetics and preaching.” (71) And he sums up his primary argument in a later chapter with the statement, “Whether one is dealing with the content of Scripture . . . or with the defense of the faith, Scripture alone is to be used as the first and ultimate step in the apologetic enterprise.” (77)
The book ends with two chapters that give several examples of expository sermons based on both the Old and New Testaments. While the examples are excellent, the chapters seem more like appendices than content that is necessary for the book’s primary argument. They almost fit the other appendices given—all of which provide great information but are not necessary.
While I agree with much of what Quinn argues for throughout the book, I do have two primary criticisms concerning the organization of the material. First, while the information given and the premise are argued well, the majority of the text points to other sources rather than giving the author’s own words. There are a lot of quotations given throughout the book that are useful, but the author’s argument does sometimes get lost in the quotations. Second, though it is clear what the author’s argument is from the very beginning of the book and the author successfully argues his point throughout the book, there is something that is missing that could add immense value to this book. Throughout the book, the author argues for the importance of both presuppositional apologetics and expositional preaching, but nowhere in the book does he explain how we ought to do this faithfully—he does give examples in chapters seven and eight, but he does not give much advice for the modern-day preacher to do the same in their own sermons.
Despite these two criticisms, Quinn does provide a great argument for the need for presuppositional apologetics and expositional preaching—the book’s greatest strengths are in defining both terms accurately for the modern believer and by simply showing the reader what links both ideas—the inerrancy of Scripture. I find it a helpful introduction to the convergence of both presuppositional apologetics and expositional preaching.
Daniel L. Arter
Buy the books
GOD THE PREACHER AND APOLOGIST: THE ESSENTIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGETICS AND EXPOSITORY PREACHING, by Lance Quinn