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Peculiar Speech: Preaching to the Baptized Paperback – April 1, 1992

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About the Author

Feeling most athome behind a pulpit, Bishop William H. Willimon s deepest calling is to be a preacher and truth-teller of Jesus Christ. Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University Divinity School and retiredBishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, after serving for 20 years as faculty member and Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. He continues to give lectures and teach at universities around the world. Willimon earned a doctoral degree from Emory University and has been honored with 13 additional doctorates. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Astudy by the Pulpit and Pew Research Center found that Willimon is one of the most widely read authors among mainline Protestant pastors. An international survey conducted by Baylor University named him one of the "Twelve Most Effective Preachers" in the English-speaking world. With over a million copies of more than 60 books sold, his popularity is undeniable.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (April 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802806163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802806161
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William H. Willimon is Presiding Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, Birmingham, AL area, and Visiting Research Professor, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC. Prior to his current position he served for twenty years as Professor of Christian Ministry and Dean of Duke University Chapel. He is the author of fifty books, and over a million copies of his books have been sold. His articles have appeared in many publications including The Christian Ministry, Quarterly Review, Liturgy, Worship, and Christianity Today. His Pulpit Resource is used each week by over eight thousand pastors in the U.S.A., Canada, and Australia. He was selected in a Baylor University survey as one of the "Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World."

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Format: Paperback
Peculiar Speech by William Willimon is over 15 years old, but it remains a storehouse of quotable observations on the interrelationships between preaching, the church, scripture, and baptism.

[Page numbers for the 124-page paperback edition are in brackets.]

Willimon says the purpose of Peculiar Speech is to "look at preaching through baptism" [2] and to "explore what it means to preach among the baptized." [3] For him, the issue at hand is, "What difference does it make to our preaching that all of us there are preparing for baptism or else trying to figure out what happened when we were baptized?" [3] Willimon wants to know, "Do we really appreciate the baptismal, liturgical quality of our speech?" [3]

Willimon provides important insights on different kinds of speech and their respective communities. He notes that when the church labels people according to Freudian psychology, e.g., "homosexuals," it is adopting the speech of an alien community [7]. To him, the diversity fad is society's way of putting a "happy face" on cultural fragmentation [8]. Linguistic accommodation focuses on method rather than content [10]. "To categorize preaching as distinctive baptismal speech is to part company with [the] advocates . . . of accommodation . . . ." [9] Willimon sees the search for a universal speech that will relativize group differences as hopeless [10]. Christians come into existence via a story that is not universal [10]. Christian communicators needlessly struggle with the false dilemma of either (1) accommodation or (2) irrelevance [79]. To Willimon, the real choice is not to make preaching relevant to the congregation, but to make the church relevant to baptismal speech. In speaking of the historical importance of distinctive speech, Willimon says, " . . . if . .
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Once again, this is a amazing book on preaching. I would like to thank Dr. Bland from Harding Graduate school for recommending to me this book. I asked him for some titles to read about Post Liberal preaching, and this was one of the texts he mentioned. I am really thankful for Dr. Bland's class on contemporary preaching. He really expanded my mind on the art of the sermon. It was truly a transformational class. Dr. Bland's classes do not seem hard, or really that difficult, but by the time you come home, he has expanded your knowledge so much. It is like he teaches you and you are not even aware of it. Well, this book is a home run for sermon preparation. If you want some examples of a post liberal sermon, this is the book. Willimon gives some powerful sermons in this text. Preachers, if you are needing a fresh approach in your sermon preparation, this will take you to a new level. Also, I feel that you will really connect to this text. One of the best books ever on preaching the gospel in its full power.
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