Those looking for good signs about the new millennium can take heart in this: it was a very good year for books on preaching.
It hasn’t always been possible to say that in recent years, but 2000 brought with it a host of quality volumes in homiletics. While there may not be a single book of classic proportions, there have been a wide variety of good, solid books which will benefit preachers young and old.
Preparing and Preaching the Sermon
This was not the year for a major new textbook on preaching, but the year did bring an interesting resource which draws on two significant texts. How to Preach a Sermon: An Electronic Guide from Formation to Delivery (Baker) is a multimedia program delivered on CD-ROM which draws on the insights of two texts: Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson and Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell. An instructional tool for sermon preparation and delivery, How to Preach (developed by John Koessler and Steven Albrecht) offers audio and video clips to illustrate preaching techniques. This will be a useful tool for young preachers as well as more experienced preachers seeking a “refresher course” in homiletics.
One volume which takes an unusual approach to the preaching task is The Word on the Street: Performing the Scriptures in the Urban Context (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.) by Stanley P. Saunders and Charles L. Campbell, both professors at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. The book is a collection of essays, sermons and reflections drawn from the authors’ preaching and teaching experiences with the Open Door Community, an urban ministry community in Atlanta. Two chapters which I found particularly interesting were “Street Readings / Reading the Streets” (about the way in which one’s physical context changes the perspective with which one sees the biblical text), and “Street Preaching.”
A variety of recent publications deal with preaching from particular literary genres of scripture, such as Preaching the Gospel of Luke (Westminster John Knox Press) by Keith F. Nickle; From Gospel to Sermon: Preaching Synoptic Texts (Chalice Press) by David J. Ourisman; and Preaching in the New Creation: The Promise of New Testament Apocalyptic Texts (Westminster John Knox). David Buttrick’s latest offering is Speaking Parables: A Homiletic Guide (Westminster John Knox).
Due out in December is an expanded edition of Eugene Lowry’s pivotal work, The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form (Westminster John Knox). Along with Fred Craddock, Lowry has been one of the major players in the homiletical academic community in stressing the role of narrative. This was one of the key books in that discussion when it was published in 1980, and students of preaching will welcome its return, along with Lowry’s new observations.
Another book that was due out in December is Preaching with Authority (Kregel) by Kenton C. Anderson (who has a feature article in this issue). Kent is a fine young preaching professor in Canada who has written an intriguing book about preaching in the form of a novel. Naturally, the book will offer insights into the value of narrative forms in our postmodern era. The title may be a bit deceptive, but the book is a useful and interesting addition to the homiletical mix.
Sermon Collections
Though mainstream Christian publishers insist there is no market for sermon books, every year brings a new assortment of such collections.
Of course, it helps to be famous. For example, sermons by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continue to be popular even though “the Doctor” ministered to a previous generation. Two fine collections published in the past year are The Life of Joy and Peace: An Exposition of Philippians (Baker) and God’s Way, Not Ours (Baker), a series of sermons based on the first chapter of Isaiah. Lloyd-Jones was one of the great biblical expositors of our century, and contemporary preachers still have much to gain from his insights.
One of the most important collections of sermons to be published in recent years is “The Words of Gardner Taylor” (Judson Press), compiled by Edward L. Taylor. The first volume of the series is NBC Radio Sermons: 1959-1970, and additional volumes (plus a CD-ROM) are forthcoming. Taylor is one of the most significant preaching voices of the 20th century, and this series will be well received by pastors who want to learn from this gifted and prophetic preacher.
Another valuable collection of sermons is Sundays in the Tuskeegee Chapel (Abingdon Press) by James Earl Massey. Massey (a Contributing Editor of Preaching) was for many years Dean of the Chapel and Preacher to the University at Tuskeegee University, and these sermons are drawn from his ministry in that setting. In a cover blurb I was privileged to write, I observed, “James Earl Massey is one of America’s finest preachers, and Sundays in the Tuskeegee Chapel is further evidence of that fact. The sermons … are beautifully written, well Illustrated, and rooted in scripture.”
A preacher who is gaining attention in the publishing world is Fleming Rutledge, who is the author of Help My Unbelief (Harper Collins). His sermons are well-written, and this volume will be of particular interest to those who enjoyed his earlier collection, The Bible and the New York Times.
Canon and Proclamation (Wm. B. Eerdmans) by Paul C. McGlasson is a collection of sermons inspired by the teaching and writing of Brevard S. Childs on biblical theology. The 44 sermons included are remarkably brief, and many appear to be more historical devotions than homiletical in nature.
A more helpful collection, if brief, is Gary L. Carver’s Out from the Ordinary (CSS Publishing). Carver is pastor of First Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN, and his sermons reflect his effective ministry of proclamation with that congregation. These ten sermons are drawn primarily from 1 and 2 Samuel (based on sermons for Sundays after Pentecost in year B in the Revised Common Lectionary).
How Small a Whisper (Kregel Publications) by Roger Cars well is a good collection of evangelistic sermons which are drawn from the author’s ministry as an itinerant evangelist in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
The final book mentioned in this section is drawn from the “Great Preachers” television program featured on the Odyssey Network. Ten Great Preachers (Baker), edited by Bill Turpie, includes interviews with and sermons from Tony Campolo, Fred Craddock, James Forbes, Billy Graham, Thomas Long, Haddon Robinson, John Stott, Barbara Brown Taylor, Gardner C. Taylor, and William Willimon. Reaching across denominational and theological lines, the book highlights ten outstanding communicators. The sermons are excellent and worth the cost of the book; I just wish the interviews had been longer and more substantive.
Special Topics in Preaching
The Black preaching tradition is one of the rich repositories of homiletical treasure, and Cleophus J. LaRue of Princeton Seminary has provided a wonderful book introducing readers to the best of that tradition from both past and present. The Heart of Black Preaching (Westminster John Knox Press) makes the case that the vitality of Black preaching is drawn from a sense of the power and presence of God among His people. Offering an analysis of the distinctive characteristics of 19th and 20th century Black preaching, LaRue also includes a selection of outstanding sermons in his fine volume.
A related volume with a specific demographic in mind is Preaching to the Black Middle Class by Marvin A. McMickle, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH. Whereas LaRue emphasizes the historic perspective of Black preaching in relating the gospel to the dispossessed, McMickle recognizes a new reality: the growth of a large Black middle class. Does such a socio-economic change represent the need for a new approach to preaching? McMickle makes the case that the church must be able to preach to both middle class parishioners and their underclass brothers and sisters. He offers a variety of practical insights along with a selection of model sermons.
When teaching seminary preaching classes that included Korean students, it became clear to me that there were cultural issues which must be addressed in preparing to preach in an Asian-American context. That is precisely what Eunjoo Mary Kim attempts to do in Preaching the Presence of God: A Homiletic from an Asian American Perspective (Judson Press). A professor at Iliff School of Theology, Kim offers insights about sermon development and design for Asian-American congregations, and suggests a theology of preaching that deals with what she believes to be a unique Asian perspective on spirituality. Given that she draws almost exclusively from the theological left-of-center, it would be interesting to see how a similar work by an evangelical preacher might vary in its perspective of the cultural impact and influence of the Asian experience.
A new title which will be of real value to pastors dealing with today’s cultural context is Craig A. Loscalzo’s Apologetic Preaching: Proclaiming Christ to a Postmodern World (InterVarsity). Pastor of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY, and a former seminary preaching professor, Loscalzo leads preachers through the postmodern maze of relativism and skepticism with guidance on preaching the gospel in such an era. His counsel is practical and solid, and the book includes sample sermons from various preachers to illustrate the issues. This will be a helpful book for any preacher.
Many other interesting titles found their way onto preacher’s bookshelves during the past year, including: The Whispered Word: A Theology of Preaching (Chalice Press) by Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki; Preaching Justice (Morehouse Publishing) by James M. Childs, Jr.; Creating and Leading Children’s Sermons (Smyth & Helwys) by O. Suthern Sims, Jr.; and Spurgeon & Son (Kregel) by Craig Skinner. A variety of other books have been highlighted in recent issues of Preaching, and space does not permit reviewing each of them. (Those interested in reading past book reviews from Preaching will want to visit our web site,, where recent reviews are posted.)
Finally, a fascinating study of a neglected topic is Visually Speaking: Radio and the Renaissance of Preaching by Jolyon P. Mitchell. Mitchell is a lecturer in communication and theology at the University of Edinburgh and a former producer for the BBC World Service. His love for radio and fascination with preaching (both British and American) create a remarkable story of the medium and the message. American readers will be interested with Mitchell’s discussion of American radio preachers, most of whom will be completely unfamiliar to all but a handful of faithful listeners. (I confess I’m not one of them.) It is interesting that instead of considering widely-heard radio communicators like Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur and others, Mitchell instead considers only rural and / or Pentecostal pastors of small congregations with local radio programs. Nevertheless, he offers an engaging analysis and some important insights on contemporary communication issues.
Now let’s hope 2001 brings as many good preaching books!

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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