Authored by Gardner C. Taylor; edited by Edward L. Taylor
Valley Forge: Judson Press.
Softcover, $70.00 for the set. (Volumes may also be purchased individually.)
When the final
page is written on the history of preaching in the 20th century,
one of the preeminent names of that era will be Gardner C. Taylor. Often called
the “Dean of Black Preachers” in the United States, Taylor is a preacher whose
craftsmanship and commitment have made a lasting impression not only among African-American
churches but within the wider Christian community.
Judson Press has
made available a six-volume collection of sermons, lectures and assorted materials
from the voice and pen of Taylor. The majority of sermons come from Taylor’s
42-year pastorate at the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, NY. The
editor (who is not related to his subject), is pastor of First Baptist Church
in Far Rockaway, NY.
The first volume
in the series includes Taylor’s sermons preached on the National Radio Vespers
Hour and Art of Living, radio programs long carried on the NBC network. The
National Radio Vespers Hour originated as an outlet for the preaching of Harry
Emerson Fosdick. Fosdick’s successors on the national broadcast were Ralph Sockman,
Paul Scherer, then Taylor, who preached on the program from 1959 to 1970.
The second volume
includes sermons preached at Concord from 1970-1980, and the third offers sermons
from 1980 to the present. Volume 4 includes special sermons and addresses –
such as those preached for denominational conventions and the Baptist World
Alliance – and also features a 16-part sermon series based on the seven churches
of Revelation 2-3.
Volume 5 in the
series includes several articles Taylor wrote, plus a collection of his lectures
on preaching, including his Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching delivered at
Yale in 1976. This volume also contains two interviews done with Taylor. (Unfortunately,
it doesn’t include the interview with Taylor that appeared in Preaching
magazine.) The sixth and final volume includes an assortment of 41 sermons chosen
by Taylor, ranging from 1958 to 1990.
Too few books
of sermons are published these days; the publishers say that is because preachers
don’t buy sermon collections any more. This is a collection, however, that anyone
serious about great preaching will want to own and to enjoy, page after page.