Purposes of Preaching (Chalice Press), edited by Jana Childers, is an interesting new book of 10 essays by a series of mainline homileticians. The varied essays deal with the nature, purpose and value of preaching today.

In his chapter, Ronald Allen talks about preaching as a conversation involving various parties, including the preacher, congregation and Scripture. Another partner in that conversation, he says, should be Christian history and tradition: “Contemporary sermons often leapfrog from the world of the Bible to today without taking into account the fact that Christians in the intervening millennia often have thought in very helpful ways about the subject of the sermon…This tradition is not a monolithic body of fixed and unchanging ideas, but like the Bible contains multiple voices who interpret Christian faith from the perspective of the worldviews and issues of their times and places. These voices include events, movements, theologians (e.g., Augustine, Calvin, Campbell), as well as official collective statements (e.g., Nice Creed, Westminster Shorter Catechism).”

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