Stephen F. and David L. Olford, Anointed Expository Preaching, Nashville: Broadman & Holman. 1998. 369 pp. ISBN 080546085-3; $24.99
Stephen Olford has had a distinguished career as pastor, evangelist and evangelical spokesman. His rhetorical skills and homiletical abilities have been admired by those who listen, emulated by many a young preacher, and studied by seasoned pulpit veterans. At this stage of his career he primarily devotes his energies to training pastors toward greater effectiveness in expository preaching. Along with his son, David, Olford now teaches short courses in preaching at the Olford Center for Biblical Preaching in Memphis, TN. I interviewed Dr. Olford for the May-June 1997 issue of Preaching.
In Anointed Expository Preaching, father and son have condensed and put in writing their lessons from the Olford institute. Those who desire to have their passion for biblical preaching rekindled will benefit from reading this work.
It is characteristic of Olford that he would choose to include the word Anointed in the title. He has spoken of the despair of trying to preach without experiencing the anointing of God. For him, the anointing flows out of the preacher’s walk with God. It is not something that one would put on like a garment when he steps into the pulpit. Instead, it flows out of a life of consecration. Fittingly, then, Olford first addresses The Walk to Pursue. In so doing, he sets the task of preacher in the context of the biblical office of the pastor. To paraphrase the Olfords, the preacher must be a God-called person of integrity who preaches God’s message as found in the scriptures out of a life in harmony with both God’s Word and in the fullness of God’s Spirit.
In the second major section, the authors get down to the “nuts and bolts” of preaching in an expository fashion. It is in this section that the book’s many strengths become apparent. A major strength of the work is simply the authors’ passion for their subject. It is apparent that this book issues forth from a rich experience of training and encouraging pastors toward greater effectiveness as expositors of God’s word. A second strength is the organization. They give a thorough and comprehensive view of the “start to finish” process of putting together an expository sermon.
A third area of strength is closely related to the second. That is the book’s comprehensiveness. In encyclopedic fashion, they discuss a range of issues and topics that preachers who seek to be faithful to the Biblical text will find enlightening and helpful. For instance, they give a slant on choosing a text that is unique. They also include helpful suggestions as to how to analyze the grammar, syntax, and structure of the text in order to arrive at a more faithful interpretation.
The third major section is entitled The Word to Proclaim. It is here that they deal with such issues as conservation, inculcation, and comprehension. They include helpful chapters dealing with such issues as “How can the church more effectively conserve their evangelistic results?” and “How can we develop a plan so that our people are taught the ‘whole counsel of God’?”
From beginning to end, the Olfords’ extensive experience of dealing with preachers over a broad range of topics shines through in this work. It is well organized, comprehensive and reflects Stephen Olford’s extensive ministry, which has experience God’s blessing for many years. A critique of the work would be that it is heavily invested in a very deductive style of preaching. Their interest in expository preaching is well-founded and they offer a good definition of expository preaching:
“Expository preaching is the Spirit-empowered explanation and proclamation of the text of God’s word with due regard to the historical, contextual, grammatical and doctrinal significance of the given passage with the specific object of invoking a Christ-transforming response.”
I would argue that a highly deductive style is not the only way to preach expository messages. Nevertheless, those who desire greater effectiveness in delivering biblical, expository messages will profit from reading Anointed Expository Preaching.
Gateway Videos, Great Preachers, Odyssey Productions, Worcester, PA
I was quite pleased one evening to have my relentless “channel-surfing” interrupted by the image of Fred Craddock preaching. Of course, my surfing came to a stop and I watched as that highly effective and influential homiletician blessed my soul with his preaching. I discovered that what I was watching was the Odyssey channel’s Great Preachers series. Now this series has been released on video tape.
The ten preachers featured on the first installment of the series are Gardner C. Taylor, Haddon Robinson, William Willimon, Billy Graham, Fred Craddock, Thomas Long, John R. W. Stott, Barbara Brown Taylor, James Forbes, and Walter Burghardt. This group covers both the theological and homiletical spectrum.
On each tape, the preacher preaches a sermon and is then interviewed by Bill Turpie, correspondent for the Odyssey channel, about his or her preaching style. A weakness is that each tape is only 25 minutes and is therefore limited in how much material it can cover. Nevertheless, the insights gleaned from these pulpit giants are valuable.
These tapes will help you to finally put your television to good use.

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