Duane Litfin (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015). Paper, 392 pages.

Serious students of preaching will be glad to know about a newly revised and expanded edition of Duane Litfin’s book Paul’s Theology of Preaching (originally published in 1994 as St. Paul’s Theology of Proclamation). Litfin, who taught at Dallas Seminary and served as a pastor, retired as president of Wheaton College in 2010 after 17 years in the role.

In this substantial volume, Litfin analyzes 1 Corinthians 1 – 4 to understand Paul’s own understanding of the work of the preacher. He notes that despite the centrality of preaching in Paul’s ministry and thought, these chapters are the only place in Paul’s letters “in which we discover anything like a reasoned exploration of how the Apostle operated as a preacher and why.”Litfin provides an understanding of the Greco-Roman rhetoric that was such an important cultural element of Paul’s own age, then argues for a distinction between the rhetoric of his day and Paul’s emphasis on the preacher as herald, drawing on “the Old Testament prophetic calling and the ministry of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels.”

He notes that Augustine, the first Christian scholar to offer a manual for preachers (De Doctrina Christiana), falls back on his own earlier training in rhetoric and opts for Aristotle rather than Paul in his understanding of the nature of Christian preaching. Litfin calls us back to reconsider what Paul says about our call to preach.

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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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