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Preaching The New and The Now
Louisville: Westminster Press, 1998
Reviewer ...Jason Cruise
Buttrick’s book was a real disappointment for me. It did not really cover the world of preaching as much as it did modern theological thought. Perhaps I missed the whole point, which is very possible any time one reads a book!! From time to time he did deal with modern issues that surround preaching, but I did not find much practical help with my personal ministry of preaching; and, in all fairness, perhaps the book was never designed to do that in the first place.
In light of the book being more slanted toward theology, it is necessary that I point out that Buttrick’s theology as quite suspect at times. In fact, there were some points he made that were borderline heresy in my opinion. His view of the eschatological prophecies is that they are all metaphorical. This is quite alarming in that if such be the case, then the reader is left with a hermeneutical lens that is very open to mis-interpretation. The Bible is the Word of God, and there may be metaphor found throughout it, but to use sweeping generalization to include the eschaton is off the mark.
Buttrick also seems to hold to a literal view of the social gospel. In reality, each believer needs to see a social responsibility to meeting the needs of our culture. No one would disagree with that. But his theology seems to be permeated quite heavily with this thread of social responsibility and the kingdom of God here on earth.
All in all, it’s not a preaching book. It was easy reading. Praise God that he did not bog the reader down with heavy theological terms!! He writes quite conversationally, and I found that to be nice. It simply is more of a book on the theology of the modern era ... a theology which I believe needs more substance.