Over the last several weeks I have listened to all of John Piper’s series of biographical sermons. They have been a delight and wonderful encouragement. Piper suggests that pastors would do well to tell biography in the pulpit. A good idea.
Piper makes it clear that he is not an expert on any of the people about whom he preaches. He simply takes a classic biography, reads it and notes themes, challenges, points of decision, honesty about failures and weaknesses and then crafts these observations into a sermon.
I think this would be fun for a pastor to do. It is not the hard work of exegesis and so there are fewer controls. At the same time it can make the actualities of Christ-following accessible and show that even in the best of circumstances we all struggle with understanding our true place and real contribution.
I found the sermon on William Tyndale particularly helpful. His analysis of CS Lewis’ doctrinal commitments was helpful. And the story of John Bunyan got me closer to someone who is still making a difference today.