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A “Must Read” on Preaching!

September 18, 2016

Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City is a vibrant congregation founded in 1989 it has a tremendous influence in large part to its vision for ministry and Scriptural exposition for the 21st century articulated weekly from the pulpit. The answer to the questions, why is this pulpit ministry flourishing? and what can churches around the world learn about preaching from this congregation? are answered in the book PREACHING: Communicating Faith In An Age Of Skepticism (2015, Viking/Penguin) by its preacher Timothy Keller. In a word this book is AMAZING! It is a clear compelling cal about why our views on preaching must be fined tuned but then step by step instructions with liberal illustrations on how to answer the call to preach the gospel as the whole counsel of the Bible is declared. Keller calls on his background as a popular seminary teacher to organize the material and present it in a very interesting way leaving the footnotes (98 pages of them) as the final third of the book. It is worth noting that the 100 pages of footnotes were so interesting I read each and everyone of them with great delight and found them almost as interesting as the text of the book its self. Keller has read and includes thoughts from most of the significant books on preaching in the average seminary library. This gives the book a gravitas as well as a practical focus that is a truly winning combination. Of special note are the laser sharp focus on Preaching Christ Every Time(p.56) and Preaching To Culture(p.93) and a brief but powerful side bar on Legalism and Antinomianism utilizing quotes and insights from Reformed Theologian Sinclair Ferguson  to name just a few and not even scratch the surface. My only slight complaint if I can call it that is the book  at a couple of points does not seem to appreciate  fully the contributions of Haddon Robinson and his book, BIBLICAL PREACHING to restoring the discussion on preaching to include “Big Ideas” and an “expository expectation when preaching a text. I see Keller’s book working very well when read and implemented side by side with  Robinson’s. This book is absolutely must reading for any one preparing to preach or who is currently preaching. Its Christ centered focus and understanding of the mind of the 21st century listener give insight and correction that will make the reader more effective and Biblical in their ministry of the Word.

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