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

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Feeling most at home behind a pulpit, Will Willimon's deepest calling is to be a preacher and truth-teller of Jesus Christ. He is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University Divinity School and retired Bishop 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 lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Will Willimon has published many books, including his preaching subscription service on MinistryMatters.com, Pulpit Resource, and Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, both published by Abingdon Press.

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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 (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By William T. Brewer on January 28, 2006
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book - will use the ideas in my preaching
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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