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360-Degree Preaching: Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word Paperback – November 1, 2003
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From the Back Cover
Michael J. Quicke is Charles W. Koller Professor of Preaching and Communication at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He previously served as president of Spurgeonís College in London.
About the Author
Michael J. Quicke is Charles W. Koller Professor of Preaching and Communication at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He previously served as president of Spurgeon's College in London.
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Quicke defines preaching as, "sharing the in-breaking of God's good news to create a new people in new community." He takes a fourfold approach in describing the nature and purpose of preaching: Prophetic, Transformational, Incarnational, and Diverse. These four elements can be briefly summarized as follows: 1) Prophetic - parallel between prophets and apostles in that they speak God's Word and understand God's Word to be God's deed (Greidanus). 2) Transformational - Jesus' preaching both amazed and antagonized people. Preaching should convict and convert, strengthen and encourage. 3) Incarnational - Jesus incarnational ministry was both to peoples and cultures and his preaching. He is the hinge of history intersecting every culture and people with His story. Jesus never wrote a book but he lived as story. He is the Story. 4) Diverse - Nearly 30 words in Scripture are used to convey preaching. There is no one model of preaching, instead there should be a variety of preaching styles and models.
He also provides a historical summary pointing to several key figures in the history of preaching. He notes Origen's seminal influence, the combination of three senses by which a reader could understand Scripture: literal, moral, mystical. As a result exegesis became intertwined with preaching and living. Augustine was a forerunner in understanding the text correctly in order to preach it persuasively (Greater existential and spiritual authority accompanies such preaching). Shifts in communication have also influenced preaching from 15th century moveable type to 20th century electronic text. After making a case for relevant preaching, he offers a modification of Stott's 180 homiletical model (Preaching Between Two Worlds) calling it the 360 degree model. Quicke writes, "The preacher's prime responsibility is to be immersed in the dynamics of Trinitarian preaching."
The 360 degree model stresses holistic preaching from the initial selection of a text to post-sermon reflection. This holistic model calls for a more Trinitarian approach to preaching by encouraging the preacher to depend more earnestly upon the Holy Spirit through hearing, listening and living the Word. He writes, "Twenty-first century preaching needs less function and more unction...(I couldn't agree more!)" The second half of the book develops the "preaching swim", a step-by-step model that fosters this holistic, Trinitarian approach to sermon preparation.
Quicke is incredibly well-read, offering his readers a plethora of un-distracting and illuminating quotations which, if traced, lead to a number of homiletical goldmines that have proved valuable in the formation of his holistic, Trinitarian model. He attempts to fill out Stott's 180 degree model of preaching (preacher's responsibility to bridge the biblical world to the contemporary world) by emphasizing several additional key components in the preaching event: the Trinity, words, preacher, listener, and worship context. Quicke's refreshing and unfortunately unique contribution among contemporary literature is his emphasis on the preacher's swim within the flow of the three persons of the Trinity. Using the swim metaphor, he illustrates the function of each additional element, developing a more holistic picture and process for sermon preparation.
Effective preaching should be shaped by a Trinitarian dynamic in which the Holy Spirit anoints preachers and convicts listeners. All too often preaching becomes an exegetical regurgitation instead of thoughtful, Spirit-led, exhortation. Increased pressures also account for half-baked sermons and harried preachers. Preachers are found modeling their lives too closely to the cultures' definition of success instead of cultivating an integrated spiritual life. Holistic, Trinitarian preaching based on good models can remedy the present atrophy in effective preaching. However we must be careful not to reduce "ineffective preaching" to the responsibility of the preacher. Often it is the hardness of the pew that refuses to relent and receive the Word no matter how powerfully or relevantly it is delivered. Preaching is two-way communication through a three-way Person.
Preaching Defined: While Quicke's definition of preaching is concise and theologically accurate, he fails to unpack the definition for the reader. I found myself desiring more explanation. By using theologically loaded terms such as "in-breaking", "new people", and "new community" Quicke invokes theological concepts and categories such as inaugurated eschatology and new creation. However, one is left to wonder whether such theological ground is intended to serve as the foundation for his preaching.
Preaching to Changing Times: While Quicke makes an excellent case for relevant preaching suggesting that we should listen to the listeners, he fails to offer a paradigm for evaluating to what degree we should integrate cultural models of secondary orality into the church. What limits, if any, should be placed on the presence of secondary orality and technology in the preaching and worship event? What about the notion of sacred space? Jesus appears to have drawn some lines in what is and is not permissible in the worship context in his cleansing of the temple. Is there something to be said for guarding the church from excessive interpenetration with the culture? Where do we draw the lines? What about the corrosive affects of technology-driven preaching upon community?
Conwell Theological Seminary. He writes and speaks with great skill, sincerity, and passion. I hope that you will be as enriched by this book as much as I have been!
A Brief Overview
360-Degree Preaching provides a refreshing overview of the entire preaching dynamic, integrating spirituality with homiletics. While the book is clearly divided into two parts, its message is continuous the whole way through: preaching cannot be easily defined or explained by a simple doable, human-initiated system. Part one details the realities of preaching and covers a wide span of topics: the biblical and historical basis for preaching, analysis of the contemporary culture, the importance for the preacher to understand him-or herself, and the proposed 360-degree model of preaching. This takes into account of all these factors, especially the organic relationship between the Trinity, the preacher, and the hearers. Part two develops the `Preaching SWIM' as a model that incarnates the 360-degree dynamic. Each phase of the five stages of the sermon, though definitely more hands-on, stays true to the author's thesis of integrating all the disciplines of the preacher towards true spirituality. The model is simple but not superficial, and as a metaphor, it illustrates important aspects of preaching that will assist preachers in their lifelong as well as weekly journey of preparing a sermon.
Author's Distinctive Contribution
On many levels 360-Degree Preaching is a necessary addition to preaching literature. Broadly speaking, Quicke's integration of theology (both biblical and pastoral), spiritual formation, homiletics, and culture-critique make for an engaging read that challenges the preacher towards true spirituality. Rather than settling on a model that is easy and `doable,' what is presented is difficult to manage, unpredictable, paradigm-breaking, and open to creativity. In fact it is shocking, yet relieving, to actually read, "No one can say for certain what a sermon should look like" (p.26). This is not because the author has caved in to the despondency of our times, but rather he is in tune to the myriad of possibilities that could occur when the diverse factors of preaching combine: Scripture, words, the Trinity, the person of the preacher, the listener, and the worship context.
More specifically, the emphasis God's (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) role in preaching says something that is lacking in many preaching books, whether introductions or specialized. I do not recall one book in this field that I have read that emphasizes the role of the entire Trinity in the preaching dynamic, except Torrance's Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace. Therefore, this emphasis and foundation to the 360-degree model, is cutting edge in its thoroughly ancient, biblical origin.
Rather than offering an historical overview of modernism and postmodernism, the discussion is more focused and helpful. (This type of information can and should be researched in books more aptly devoted to the subject.) By defining the six key words that affect 21st century preaching, the book's thesis is not lost and the reader actually gains insight that equips him or her to be a more effective preacher. The discussion on orality shifts is one important example of this. Even in Johnston's Preaching to a Postmodern World this topic is overlooked, and yet it is essential for an accurate understanding of and communication to postmoderns.
Perhaps what makes the message of this book so commanding is the author's own pastoral experience of about 20 years. Unfortunately, many popular homileticians do not have such experience to stand behind their theories. Also, the author is well read and does not rehash only the works of popular evangelicals, but rather carefully interacts with a wide variety of authors.
A Personal Evaluation
At first, I resisted the preaching SWIM, thinking it might be a hokey acronym. However, after working through the process with the understanding of the 360-degree preaching dynamic, I wholeheartedly endorse it. It is not earth-shatteringly unique in terms of the actual stages (most sermons begin with some sort of immersion into the text and end with the sermon being preached); but it is revolutionary because at each phase of all the stages, the preacher is encouraged to engage all of the dynamics: Scripture, God, the preacher, the hearers, etc. Committing an entire chapter to "experiencing the outcomes" convinced me of the depth of the author's model.
The Trinitarian emphasis has further confirmed in my mind the necessity to worship God during the whole process of preaching, and that God is most glorified in our preaching when we are aware that he empowers it and us. Thank you Dr. Quicke for exalting our great God! Indeed, 360-Degree Preaching has impacted me so greatly because it is so God-centered. This book belongs in the preaching curriculum of every college and seminary and in the hands of every preacher!