For the first time in Preaching’s 15-year publishing history, our “Book of the Year” is actually two books. But they are united by a single factor: Haddon Robinson.
Robinson is Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Prior to that, he served as President of Denver Seminary, and earlier influenced a generation of biblical preachers as a Professor of Preaching for 19 years at Dallas Seminary. His book Biblical Preaching (released in 1980) has been one of the most influential homiletics texts ever published, and continues to be used in many colleges and seminaries. Robinson himself has been cited in numerous surveys as one of the nation’s outstanding preachers and teachers of preaching.
Two books released within the past year demonstrate Robinson’s influence and contribution to the field of homiletics. The first is The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching, edited by Keith Willhite and Scott M. Gibson and published by Baker Books. This book is compiled as a tribute to Robinson’s forty-plus years of teaching, and consists of essays written by a host of outstanding preachers and scholars, most of whom have been students or colleagues of Robinson.
Those familiar with Robinson’s Biblical Preaching will recognize the “Big Idea” as his way of describing the central proposition of a text which forms the basis of an expository sermon. The essays in this volume build on that concept and offer excellent insights on building sermons that connect effectively with people’s lives. Among the contributors are Bruce Shelley, Joseph Stowell, Duane Litfin, Bruce Waltke and others.
The second volume is Making a Difference in Preaching. Edited by Scott Gibson and published by Baker Books, the book consists of thirteen essays and articles Robinson has written from 1974 to the present. Among the chapters are such topics as: “What is Expository Preaching?” “Preaching With a Limp” “Blending Bible Content and Life Application” and “Preaching to Everyone in Particular.” As with Robinson’s other writing, these essays are practical and winsome, yet firmly grounded in the author’s solid scholarship.
In addition to Robinson, two young preaching scholars — one a former student of his at Dallas Seminary, the other a present colleague — played a critical role in the publication of these volumes. Keith Willhite is Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministries and Director of D.Min. studies at Dallas Seminary. Scott Gibson is Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Ministry at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Together they edited the Big Idea book; Gibson edited the Making a Difference volume, while Willhite write the Foreword. Willhite and Gibson were also the driving forces in the creation of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, a professional/academic society now in its fourth year.
Together, these books offer a welcome addition to the contribution of one our generation’s great preachers and teachers. As a pair, they are a worthy member of that distinguished series of volumes which have been recognized as the Preaching Book of the Year.

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