The Passion-Driven Sermon.
Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003. Harcover, 180 pages
$19.99. ISBN 0-8054-2722-8.

Why do you preach? A survey of pastors might show a variety of
reasons cited as motivation for preachers. Jim Shaddix, however,
believes that sermons “should be driven by a passion for the glory of
God.”

Shaddix, who serves as Dean of the Chapel and Professor of
Preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and as
pastor-teacher at a New Orleans church, believes that preaching
detours from its central purpose when it launches into “the quest to
answer all the questions people are asking.” Shaddix asks: “What is
the role and responsibility of my pastor as a preacher? Did God
really commission him to be the dispenser of the infinite number of
how-tos necessary for navigating daily life effectively?”

Such a preaching program is not the purpose of preaching, he
argues. “Instead, preaching should be driven by a passion for the
glory of God, a passion jointly possessed by both pastor and people .
. . A preacher’s call to preach is rooted in his call to Christ, and
his call to Christ is rooted in a quest for the glory of God.”

The central concern then becomes: “How do we preach and listen to
preaching in such a way as to bring glory to God in each individual
sermon and in the larger preaching ministry of our church?” Shaddix
answers that the key is “to rightly expose the mind of the Holy
Spirit in every given text of Scripture.” The balance of the book
offers both theological and practical dimensions to pastoral
preaching that is worthy of its calling.

Making the case for expository preaching as foundational to a
week-by-week pastoral preaching program, Shaddix takes on those who
argue that the preaching of Jesus was based in story, and thus our
preaching should adopt the same model. Shaddix answers, “He was the
quintessential storyteller, we are reminded, and consequently His
approach should be the pattern for modern-day homiletics. The further
champion for the bulk of our preaching to be in story form in light
of the vast treasury of narrative material which monopolizes biblical
literary genre and is the very nature of the four Gospels themselves
. . . These suggestions are shortsighted at best, and they
communicate a serious misunderstanding of the nature of pastoral
preaching today.

“As heretical as it may seem to some, Jesus is not necessarily the
best model for contemporary pastoral preaching. This obviously is not
because of any flaw in His homiletic or His theology. Certainly Jesus
was the quintessential master communicator and the general model for
all preachers of all time. However, we must recognize the fact that
He did not practice as the preaching pastor of a local congregation
in the same vein as we know the ministry today. His ministry would
better serve as a model for itinerant preaching as He engaged
different crowds in various settings.

Additionally, the content of the majority of His preaching and
teaching would more closely parallel evangelistic proclamation as
opposed to the edification of believers.”

The Passion-Driven Sermon is written with a clear passion for
biblical preaching and insight into the life and work of contemporary
pastors. As John MacArthur says in the book’s introduction, “This
book is a challenge to pulpiteers and an encouragement to preachers
whose passion is for the truth of God’s Word and the advancement of
God’s glory.”

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