Haddon Robinson is one of the most influential persons in the homiletical world. The author of the immensely-popular textbook Biblical Preaching (a second edition is due out this summer from Baker Books), he has influenced thousands of evangelical preachers through his writing and through his former stu-dents who now teach homiletics, Robin-son, a native of New York City, completed graduate studies at Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1955), Southern Methodist University (M.A., 1960) and the University of Illinois (Ph.D., 1964).
A former professor of homiletics at Dallas Seminary and former President of Denver Seminary, in 1991 he became the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is also co-director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Gordon-Conwell. Dr. Robinson was named one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English-speaking world in a 1996 Baylor University poll. He is one of the hosts for Discover the Word (formerly Radio Bible Class), a daily radio program of RBC Ministries in Grand Rapids, MI, which is broadcast 600 times a day on stations around the world. He is a senior consulting editor of Preaching magazine and a fellow and senior editor for Christianity Today. His book Biblical Preaching is currently being used as a text for preaching in 120 seminaries and Bible colleges throughout the world.
He recently met with Preaching editor Michael Duduit for an interview in his seminary office.
Preaching: Through your book Biblical Preaching, one could say that you literally wrote the book on expository preaching. It has been such a pivotal book in shaping our understanding of expository preaching in so many of today's churches. Since you first wrote that book, how have your views on expository preaching changed?
Robinson: I have just finished revamping the book so the new edition is coming out soon. My basic understanding of expository preaching has stayed the same. I think within the book itself I've spent more time talking about narrative -- narrative literature, narrative preaching.
I've come clearer to seeing that when you talk about expository preaching, you're not primarily talking about the form of the sermon. You are really talking about a philosophy. Do you bend your thought to the text or do you bend the text to fit your thought? How a person in all honesty answers that would say a lot about whether or not that person really is an expository preacher.
Another thing that has come into better focus is the reason for expository preaching -- that is, laying before people the biblical text is for the authority it gives. In looking at the sermons of the past, I think it would be accurate to say that even for those who were orthodox, the authority for the sermon rested in the preacher.
When Spurgeon and men of that sort preached, the people in the congregation believed that he had studied the text -- that he was orthodox -- therefore he could be trusted. So when you examine their sermons, you don't find in most of those sermons anything that I would look at and say that is clearly an expository sermon -- it opens up the biblical passage, it's formed according to the lines of the passage, and it has the purpose of the passage in view. They are in a sense topical but they are orthodox. You'd have a hard time in m