At a time when so much of the
conversation on preaching deals with presentation, Robert Smith has reminded us
that effective teaching must also take the theological task seriously. He makes
his case so well that his book, Doctrine
That Dances
(B&H Publishing), is our Preaching Book of the Year.
Smith helps his readers understand
what doctrinal preaching is and why it is so important, then uses two metaphors
to develop his insights: the exegetical
and the doctrinal dancer.
He explains: “The function of the exegetical escort is to embrace the text of
Scripture in order to usher the hearer into the presence of God for the purpose
of transformation. . . . The function of the doxological dancer is to communicate
the doctrinal message of the Bible with accuracy and ardor so that the
exuberant hearer exults in the exalting of God.”
The preacher, Smith argues, is
first and foremost a worshipper. When we preach, we worship. As a result,
“Doctrinal preaching that is both accurate in its textual interpretation and
ardent in its proclamation influences and motivates the hearers to be exuberant
in their hearing of the message and to exult or rejoice in God during the
preaching event while they are exalting God in the worship service.”
Drawing on a broad knowledge of the
homiletical tradition and his own experience in the African-American church,
Smith guides us through the “sermonic dance steps for doctrinal preaching.” In
addition to his outstanding discussion of the doctrinal preaching task, Smith
offers two sample sermons to demonstrate how doctrine can truly dance in the
Robert Smith is one of the finest preachers of our age, and in Doctrine That Dances he displays much of
the exegetical insight and homiletical passion that make him so effective.
Smith demonstrates the urgency of doctrinal preaching for today and offers
practical counsel that will help such preaching dance rather than drag.

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