As editor of Preaching, I have the opportunity each year to see many outstanding books on preaching as well as books relating to other ministry topics. Since our Associate Editor, Al Mohler, writes our book reviews (and does an excellent job with them, if I may share my biased viewpoint), I confine myself to writing the occasional Book Notes following the reviews, as well as evaluating books for possible excerpts for publication.
Since this is the annual books issue of Preaching, I’ve decided to take advantage of my editorial privilege and share some additional titles that have come across my desk recently and which are not already cited in the major books survey found earlier in this issue.
I have a particular fondness for books relating to preaching, and publishers are now providing a flood of such titles — far more than we can adequately cover in our regular reviews. One book which wins my award for best title is Surviving the Sermon by David J. Schlafer (Boston: Cowley Publications, 1992). Though written as “a guide to preaching for those who have to listen,” those who preach will find some useful insights that may make us more effective in preaching the gospel to “those who have to listen.”
A couple of good books published by Chalice Press (the new name for CBP Press of St. Louis) are Preaching for Growth by Ronald J. Allen of Christian Theological Seminary (one of his sermons is published in this issue) and Biblical Preaching: How to Find and Remove the Barriers by Richard C. White of Lexington Theological Seminary. Both are written from a mainline perspective (Allen and White both teach homiletics in Disciples of Christ seminaries), and each is well-written and worthy of attention.
Frankly, I don’t buy a lot of books these days — my budget for more shelves is long since exhausted — but I do love to browse in bookstores. Visiting with a helpful bookseller the other day, I was introduced to William Watley, pastor of St. James A.M.E. Church in Newark, New Jersey, and author of several books of sermons published by Judson Press. They were recommended so strongly that I broke down and bought one, From Mess to Miracle. It turns out I’ve become a Watley fan as well, and I recommend his sermon books to you.
If you want to do some serious thinking about your own preaching, take a look at Speaking from the Heart: Preaching with Passion (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1992) by Richard Ward of Emory’s Candler School of Theology. And Eugene L. Lowry will make you think about lectionary preaching in a new way in his new book, Living with the Lectionary: Preaching Through the Revised Common Lectionary (Abingdon, 1992).
Another interesting book for preachers is Handbook of Themes for Preaching, (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1991), edited by James W. Cox and featuring articles by more than seventy writers who offer starting points and insights for a host of preaching themes, ranging from Anger and Addiction to Violence and Vocation.
Preachers need to understand their faith heritage, and Oxford professor Alister E. McGrath has written an excellent (and brief) volume that will help in that process. A Cloud of Witnesses (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990) is a fascinating presentation of the thought of ten great Christian thinkers (Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Edwards, Barth, and C. S. Lewis).
If you are a pastor and can only read one book this year, it should be The Seven-Day-a-Week Church by Lyle E. Schaller (Abingdon, 1992). Schaller continues to be one of the most insightful writers in the church today, and this book analyzes the significant changes taking place in today’s church — challenges faced by every pastor — and offers the benefit of Schaller’s perspective on what contributes to a healthy, growing church in the present environment. Once you start this one, you’ll have a hard time putting it down.

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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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