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Revised Steps To The Sermon
H.C. Brown, Jr., H. Gordon Clinard, Jesse J. Northcutt, Al Fasol
Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996.
In the first chapter, “Understanding The Task,” the authors point out some criteria for the Major Objectives of each sermon. Having attended Southwestern, I was already familiar with these differing concepts. However, I must say that by using them, one really can find a balanced approach to preaching doctrinal, ethical, commitment-driven, and evangelistic sermons.
I found the chapters that followed to be somewhat dry. The authors take you through what I would say can best be called Preaching 101. They deal with determining the central idea of the text, how to structure the sermon, titling the message, and so on.
I do think the authors did well to point out the complexity and diversity of one’s audience on any given Sunday. It helps to keep in mind that fact that as a preacher you encounter literally “all God’s creatures” just about anytime you preach! This makes the preaching task quite sobering, but nonetheless it is one to which we are called.
The authors point out in the section titled, “Finishing The Sermon” that the preacher must communicate with “This Generation.” That is, preaching should speak the language of today, with the needs of people in mind. I agree wholeheartedly. I must say, however, even though they make this statement, the book itself really did not seem to be as in touch with today’s culture as it should be.
In all fairness to the authors, perhaps the intent of the book was not to be culturally relevant but rather to be structurally correct when it comes to developing any sermon. If that is the case, then that would explain their lack of relevant, current material. Again, this book seemed to be kind of a “meat and potatoes” approach to sermonic work.
All in all, this book did not really say anything new or exciting. It seems to be more of a textbook approach to preaching. I cannot say that it advanced the field, but I am willing to say that it surely can strengthen a preacher by refreshing the foundations upon which one must craft the sermon.
Preach On ... Jason Cruise