Thursday, November 4, 2021

My Favorite Book on Preaching

What's your favorite book on biblical preaching? Here's mine. 

First of all, I like its title. Then, I like its author. Finally, I like its content. I'm not a huge reader of books on homiletics, but I love this one. 

Last night I reread the book in one sitting. Yes, it's that well written. You don't want to put it down. The author writes like the author preaches. I'm writing this blog post so that you will at least consider reading this book. No, the publisher didn't ask me to do this. I'm not being paid by Baker Book House. I'm beholden to no one, not even Baker, with whom I've published 6 books. 

Robinson begins with this startling statement: " ... preachers are no longer regarded as the intellectual or even the spiritual leaders in their communities." He then acknowledges the pressure that's on preachers "to deliver some message other than that of the Scriptures." He rues the fact that "most modern preaching evokes little more than a wide yawn. God is not in it." Preaching today "is dry as cornflakes." 

Moreover, not all "expository preaching" is either expository or preaching. Preachers today "may be mouthing a scriptural idea, yet we can remain as impersonal as a telephone recording, as superficial as a radio commercial, or as manipulative as a con man." Individual verses "become launching pads for the preacher's own opinions." 

Three or four ideas not related to a more inclusive idea do not make a message; they make three of four sermonettes all preached at one time.

There's so much more. I'll leave you with just one more quote. Citing George Sweazey, Robinson contrasts an essay with a sermon:

As essay looks at ideas, but a sermon looks at people.

I imagine he meant this figuratively, but we can (and should) also take it literally. Last Sunday on YouTube, I watched as a famous preacher spoke to his satellite campuses while looking directly at the camera. The whole time his live audience sat there looking at a preacher ignoring them. I don't get it. 

Happy reading!