Recent years have seen few major works on preaching published. At least that was true until 1985 and 1986. In the past eighteen months, a score of serious works on the preaching task has emerged, each with a distinctive contribution to the discipline.
Among these, three volumes stand apart for their immediate relevance and for the likelihood of their continued serviceability long into the future. The three are: Preaching by Fred Craddock (Abingdon Press, 1985); Preaching by James Cox (Harper and Row, 1985); and Fundamentals of Preaching by John Killinger (Fortress Press, 1985). In any given year, each would contend for the Preaching Book of the Year.
In preparation for the first such recognition of a Preaching Book of the Year, a survey of Contributing Editors was carried out. These leading preachers stressed the serviceability of books for both preachers and teachers of preaching. Each of the above-named books was recognized, but the most frequently-cited volume was Preaching by Fred Craddock, which has been named Preaching Book of the Year for 1986.
Combining sound principles with creative insights, Craddock has produced a volume which could be read by all who value the preaching task. Here are some comments drawn from the full review of the Craddock book, published in the November-December 1985 issue of Preaching:
“Preaching is the result of Craddock’s painstaking effort to approach the process of preaching with a practical focus. The volume is not one of the numerous “how-to–books available on preaching, yet each chapter is full of practical advice presented in a manner relevant to the preacher. The reader of this volume encounters a vision of preaching which calls out the best in every preacher.
“Craddock’s goal in this volume is excellence in preaching. He spends very little time establishing a rationale for the practice of preaching, but launches at once into his discussion of the art of proclamation. This is no apology for preaching; it is a confident presentation of the rich possibilities inherent in the sermon and its presentation …
“Craddock has a genuine understanding and concern for the person of the preacher. The image of the preacher apparent in the volume is a very human instrument. Nevertheless, Craddock has great hopes for excellence in preaching …
“Through the use of three biblical images, the author builds a theology for preaching which should shape the reader’s understanding of the function of preaching in the life of the church …
“When dealing with the mechanics of the sermon, Craddock demonstrates a creative familiarity with the classic structures and forms of preaching and presents them in a relevant manner. The book contains a variety of interesting suggestions concerning the choice of a text, its interpretation, and appropriate means of bringing the; text to life.
“Craddock resists the temptation to present a single model as best. In a manner uncommon to books of this genre, Craddock leaves the individual reader/preacher considerable room for personal choices and discrimination. The reader is likely to feel that Craddock is more a colleague than a teacher.
“This volume should prove to be of great value toward better preaching and better preachers.”

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