Preaching must be gospel-focused Michael Duduit February 21 Arturo Azurdia III was the featured speaker in Southeastern Baptist Seminary’s recent Adams Lecture Series. Azurdia is associate professor of pastoral theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., and the senior minister of word and worship at Trinity Church. During his first lecture on “Christ-centered exposition,” Azurdia encouraged students to have the same goal in their preaching and teaching as the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:2. “This is what it means to preach Christianly. Every message needs to be connected to Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” he said. Azurdia warned against catering to the desires of a crowd instead of focusing on the Gospel. “We are living in a day now when people from our own subculture are telling us if you want to have a really successful church then find out what the people want and give that to them,” he said. “This is why we must never allow the pew to dictate to the pulpit because the pew will never demand the Gospel.” Although the world sees the message of the cross as foolish, Azurdia urged students to stick to the clear Gospel. “You are to preach a crucified Christ in a crucified style,” he said. “Don’t attempt to make the Gospel glorious. It is glorious enough without any of us.” Azurdia’s second lecture focused on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, specifically in preaching and teaching. “All believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit,” he said. “But there is another work of the Spirit we must never forget — a unique filling that is directly related to the proclamation of the Word of God.” He cautioned against relying on any power of one’s own to bring about faith in others, reminding students that true faith is only drawn out by the power of God. “Such a faith, though assaulted, attacked or assailed, will never be overthrown,” he said. “And this, my dear friends, is our aim — that the faith of sinners be a real and saving faith resting entirely upon the work of Jesus,” Azurdia said.