Select Page

Month: February 2012

Book Review Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today

Many books are written on preaching every year, but not many of those books stand the test of time. Most of the books on preaching succeed in helping the reader understand theories on preaching, the history of preaching, or what the Bible teaches on preaching. Very few books on preaching are considered classics, and those that are combine what the Bible teaches on preaching, the history of preaching, and how to preach. Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today by John Stott is rightly considered a classic, a volume that has stood the test of time, because its author was a great preacher and statesman of evangelicalism for many years until his very recent death.  This book demonstrates Stott’s immense knowledge of preaching and his desire to equip preachers, so they can faithfully proclaim the Word of God in their contexts. In three hundred and forty pages, John Stott walks his readers through the history of preaching, objections to preaching, and theological foundations for preaching, preaching as Bridge-building, sermon preparation and being courageous and humble in preaching. The goal of Between Two Worlds is to address the “loss of confidence in the Word of God among preachers who no longer take the trouble to study the Word in depth and proclaim it without fear” (Stott, 7). Between Two Worlds along with Preaching and Preachers by Dr. Lloyd-Jones are two of my favorite books on preaching. Between...

Read More

The Old Spice Guy, Metrosexuals, and the Man-card

It occurs to me, as we bandy around topics like Christian manhood and how we as men ought to live, that the idea of “Christian Manhood” can be dangerously subjective and ambiguous. Finish the sentence for me: Real men _____. Can’t say “quiche.” Wear pink. Drive a Ford. Spit the farthest. Belch the loudest. Cry. And the list goes on. Pretty much everybody has their own list of the things that you must do – or not do – to be a real man. If I’m making the list, it’d be sure to include things like hunting wild pigs with a bowie knife and avoiding hipster hangouts like Chipotle and Starbucks. And no man who wanted to keep his man-card would ever be caught wearing flip-flops or eating a veggie burger. Of course, society – and particularly marketing and advertising – doesn’t help. Since a good deal of the money we spend is tied to our self-image, there are a lot of people with a vested interest in what exactly that self-image should be. Take this guy, for instance.   It doesn’t take a marketing expert to identify the underlying message here. You need this body spray to smell powerful. To be powerful. Without it, you are just an average schmuck in your average schmuck underwear. Also, potato chips. This version of manhood is big, powerful, loud, and at...

Read More

The sweetness of the grace of God

Do you believe and live out the truth of the sweetness of the grace of God? Often times I find myself whether I am working on homework, reading a stack of books or walking around my neighborhood thinking about the sweetness of the grace of God. As I do this I often think back to previous mistakes and circumstances in my life and also to the present about what the Lord is doing in my life. In Ephesians 1:18 Paul says this, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Paul teaches this in the context of Ephesians 1:15-23 a section in which Paul is giving a prayer of thanksgiving. Paul is praying that the church will gain deep insight into the Lord’s powerful working and rich gifts in Christ. When I think of the sweetness of the grace of God I cannot help but turn to Ephesians 3:16-19. In Ephesians 3:16 the Spirit applies to believers the presence and power of God. The inner man refers to one’s inner self as a human being. Christ already dwells in Christian but Paul prays here for his indwelling with power. In v.16 Paul speaks of the indwelling “Spirit” and here of the indwelling Christ teaching about...

Read More

The Orator and the Preacher

P.T. Forsyth, from Positive Preaching and Modern Mind: The Christian preacher is not the successor of the Greek orator, but of the Hebrew prophet. The orator comes with but an inspiration, the prophet comes with a revelation. In so far as the preacher and prophet had an analogue in Greece it was the dramatist, with his urgent sense of life’s guilty tragedy, its inevitable ethic, its unseen moral powers, and their atoning purifying note. Moreover, where you have the passion for oratory you are not unlikely to have an impaired style and standard of preaching. Where your object is to secure your audience, rather than your Gospel, preaching is sure to suffer. . . . It is one thing  to have to rouse or persuade people to do something, to put themselves into something; it is another to have to induce them to trust somebody and renounce themselves for him. The one is the political region of work, the other is the religious region of faith. And wherever a people is swallowed up in politics, the preacher is apt to be neglected, unless he imperil his preaching by adjusting himself to political or social methods of address. The orator, speaking generally, has for his business to make real and urgent the present world and its crises; the preacher a world unseen, and the whole crisis of the two worlds. The...

Read More

Book Review UnChristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity And Why It Matters

Christianity in secular culture is often portrayed in a very negative even hostile way on television or movies. Christians are called to represent Christ to the world. In UnChristian David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, two men who love the Gospel and the Church investigate how Christians are perceived as hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, antihomosexual, sheltered, too political, and judgmental. The author’s purpose in this book “is to open the hearts and minds of Christians, to prepare us to deal with a future where people will be increasingly hostile and skeptical toward us. A new generation is waiting for us to respond” (Kinnaman, Lyons, 14). The term Unchristian reflects “outsiders’ most common reaction to the Christian faith. The author on this point comment that outsiders “they think Christians no longer represent what Jesus had in mind, that Christianity in our society is not what it was meant to be. For many people the Christian faith looks weary and threadbare. They admit they have a hard time actually seeing Jesus because of all the negative baggage that now surrounds them” (Kinnaman, Lyons, 15). Being that I grew up in Seattle Washington an area of the United States that is known for being liberal and very secular, I can attest that much of the concerns expressed in this book are the view of the world. The purpose of this book...

Read More