The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Review: “Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit”

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Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit

Steven W. Smith

Kregel, 2010, 176pp., paperback, $14.99

ISBN 978-0-8254-3897-4

This author issues a passionate and persuasive plea to preachers that they must embrace the cross in their pastoral ministry, dying to self so that others might live in imitation of Christ and, following the Lord, Paul. Relying heavily on Paul’s words to the Corinthian church, Smith calls for what he calls “surrendered communication,” demanding with homiletical neatness that the preacher ignite, invite, identify and imitate in his worked-out union with a crucified Saviour. Then, relying heavily on Francois Fénelon’s rhetorical theory, he speaks of surrendering to the text, to the audience, and to the task of preaching. At its heart, this brief volume pleads with preachers to leave questions of preaching style where they belong, and focus on one’s philosophy (we might prefer ‘theology’ here) of preaching. In the lively language of an earnest man, Smith elaborates on this theme, drawing in his helps from a wide range of sources. Although there are Spiritual dynamics to the act of preaching that might be more clearly addressed, and some possible overstatements that might be born of his conviction, this is an excellent, truly challenging volume. Younger preachers who have been ministering for a few years might especially profit from subjecting themselves to the vigorous spiritual probing that Smith provides, asking whether or not we are faithful to the pattern of Christ, and the pattern of Paul, in our embrace of plain truth, plainly spoken, speaking of a crucified Ransomer in a crucified style because we follow our crucified Lord.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 18 February 2011 at 19:22

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