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Daniel L. Akin is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.David L. Allen is dean of the School of Theology, professor of Preaching, and director of the Center of Biblical Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.Ned L. Mathews is professor emeritus of Pastoral Ministries at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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Text-Driven Preaching, edited by Akin, Allen, and Mathews, presents a much-needed way forward for those responsible for communicating God's Word. In it, various contributors demonstrate the need and method of preaching text-driven sermon - that is, "a sermon that develops a text by explaining, illustrating, and applying its meaning" (8). It is more than biblical preaching which strives to communicate a biblical truth. It is more than expository preaching which seeks to reveal (expose) the meaning of the text. Text-driven preaching accomplishes these goals, but does so by being wedded to the text, allowing the very Word and words of God to provide the scope, structure, and meaning of the sermon.
Allen argues that there is a biblical and theological foundation for such exposition: "God has spoken. God is not silent. He has revealed Himself in Jesus, who is the living Word, and in Scripture, which is the written Word. Therefore, the theological foundation for text-driven preaching is the fact that God has spoken!" (3).
There is much to commend in the book. Allen's 12-step sermon preparation method serves young and experienced preachers alike - instructing the former and challenging the latter to examine their own practices. Hamilton's chapter reveals the vast importance of studying Biblical theology for preachers who are called to preach the entire counsel of God, rather than just the gospel accounts, epistles, and a few psalms. Akin expertly provides the reader with the importance of application, and assists the reader by instructing him with its preparation.Read more ›
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On pages 19-20 one of the authors devotes three paragraphs to "The Preachers Walk With God." The longest of the three paragraphs is devoted to the necessity of wearing a coat and tie when preaching. To his credit, the author made some allowances for missiological contexts. But this discussion was un-necessary...and is out of place under the heading of "The Preachers Walk with God."
There were some other comments that bothered me...such as page 213 "one must be able to read Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek if one wants to do Biblical theology." I have been to seminary and have studied these languages (except Aramaic). But what about the large number of pastors who have not...like our bi-vocational brothers? Can they not be "Text-Driven" preahers?
The overall content of this book was wonderful. And I deeply respect many of the contributors...especially Dr Akin. But some of the comments (like the ones noted above...and others) causes me some frustration and takes away from the overall impact of the book.
The three-person editorial team of Akin, Allen and Mathews have compiled a resource that argues for a homiletical method that places priority on the text of Scripture at every point. They divided this book into three parts. Each part focuses on a particular aspect of sermon preparation: the preacher, preparation, and preaching.
Part one focuses on every element shaping the preacher from rhetoric to the history of the discipline and the Holy Spirit. Here the contributors deal with fundamental questions of communication and preaching. How do we make points? Has there only been one method of preaching throughout history? What were the others and their effects? Paige Patterson deals with rhetoric and speaks positively of the classic Aristotelian tried of ethos, pathos and logos. The preacher must believe what he preaches and it must affect him deeply. He ought to feel appropriate passion for his subject. Finally, he must have something to say! Chapter three deals with the equally important yet autonomous Holy Spirit. What, if anything, is the preacher responsible for so that the Holy Spirit will use his preaching? He must become a Spirit-filled person. He must pursue godliness and fight immorality. He must celebrate the Spirit's work and not downplay it for any reason. Part one ends with chapter four and the exploration of the shaping of the preacher. Again, preaching is more than style, it is the whole person engaging the whole text. Faithful preachers must be men of godliness and doctrinal faithfulness.
Part two moves into the practice of sermon preparation. David Allen provides a twelve-step method that moves through every step of hermeneutics and exegesis. He uses 1 John 2:15-17 as a test case for his method.Read more ›
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