Among many outstanding volumes on preaching in recent years, one of the best — and the “best of class” in 1994 — is Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell, published by Baker Book House.
In an age of growing biblical illiteracy, many preachers wonder if there is a future for expository preaching. Isn’t it easier to simply identify some “felt needs” and do group therapy in the pulpit? Do people really care anymore about what the Bible says?
Absolutely, provided that biblical truth is communicated clearly and effectively. Chapell’s volume goes a long way toward, as its subtitle says, “reclaiming the expository sermon.” For this service to the church and its messengers, we are proud to recognize the volume as the Preaching Book of the Year for 1994.
James M. Boice, pastor of Philadelphia’s Second Presbyterian Church, calls the Chapell volume, “a thoughtful, balanced, and helpful guide to what expository preaching in the Reformed tradition has been, can be, and needs to be again. The last part, dealing with a ‘theology of Christ-centered messages,’ is a substantially new contribution and much needed.
Steve Brown, a Preaching contributing editor, comments: “Finally a book on preaching where one can hear the ‘soft sound of sandaled feet.’ Christ is the message of the preacher, and this book will enable the preacher to lift him up in ways that will change lives.”
In his review of the book in the November-December 1994 issue of Preaching, Craig Skinner made these observations:
“Bryan Chapell has now tackled the virus that robs so much contemporary preaching of its virility and dulls its confrontational character. This innovative discussion of the authority and redemptive power of the Scriptures when exposed uses all the insights gleaned from contemporary studies in communications dynamics.
“He contends that the determination of a sermon’s subject remains only half-done when the preacher has merely discerned what the biblical writer was saying. Chapell thus affirms that only a clear understanding of each specific passage’s purpose can facilitate an unclouded capacity to proclaim its truths effectively.
“For our disillusioned and frustrated ‘postmodern’ world it offers a comprehensive yet concise and well-proven approach to relevance for today’s preaching tasks.”
Bryan Chapell was recently-named President of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, where he has served as associate professor of homiletics and academic dean. Chapell was in the pastorate for a decade.

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