Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to read dozens and dozens of preaching books. Whenever a new preaching book comes out, I try to read it. One reason for this is I want to improve my craft of preaching and teaching the Word of God. A new book Pulpit Aflame edited by Joel R. Beeke and Dustin W. Benge on preaching has come out that seeks to honor the life and ministry of Dr. Steve Lawson, a man the Lord has used mightily in our generation.
Pulpit Aflame has contributions from many of the greatest preachers of our generation such as John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Dr. Mohler, Dr. Derek Thomas, and Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. The book is broken up into four parts. Part one considers the mandate of preaching. Here preachers and teachers learn from Dr. John MacArthur on the biblical priority of preaching the Word, Dr. Sproul on understanding the importance of feeding the sheep, and finally rounding out this section Dr. Beeke looks at a historical pedigree and 16th century reformed preaching.
Part two considers the meaning of preaching. Here we learn from Dr. Mohler on preaching as exposition, Dr. Derek Thomas on preaching and transforming, and Dr. Ferguson on preaching as worship. Part three explores the motivation of preaching. Dr. Godfrey opens this section looking at the aim of preaching, the glory of God. This section continues with John J. Murray considering the foundation of preaching, the Cross of Christ. Lastly, this section closes with looking at the presence of the Holy Spirit in preaching by Dr. Haykin.
The book concludes in part four with the method of preaching. Here we read from Iain Campbell on preparing the sermon, Geoffrey Thomas on building the sermon, and Conrad Mbewe on delivering the sermon.
In a book like this where there are so many men that I greatly respect it’s hard to nail down only a few things that I enjoyed about this book. My favorite section of the book was section two on the meaning of preaching. Preaching is not only information that we are to give to people. Preaching is not a lecture. Instead in preaching we are seeking to take the Word of God and faithfully explain the context, the passage under consideration by walking our hearers through it, and then apply it to people. As Dr. Mohler notes, “The preaching of the Word is central, irreducible, and nonnegotiable to authentic worship that pleases God” (62).
Whether you are new or seasoned in preaching, Pulpit Aflame has something for you. While if you’re like me and read a dozen or more preaching books you will likely have “read” these things many times, we all need reminders. This book contains some of the best preachers of our generation in one place to honor a great man of God in Dr. Steve Lawson. This book not only honors the ministry of Dr. Lawson but most importantly the Word of God and the Gospel.
We are living in a time when biblical illiteracy is on the rise. It’s the job of preachers and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Word faithfully and to exult in the Gospel. Reading Pulpit Aflame may enflame your passion for preaching the Word of God and the joy of the Gospel once again. Wherever you are at in your preaching or teaching ministry, I commend Pulpit Aflame to you. Read this book and learn from some of the greatest preachers of our generation. Doing so will help you to faithfully proclaim the Word and to help the people grow in their knowledge of the Word and understanding of the Gospel.