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Anointed Expository Preaching
Stephen F. Olford and David L. Olford
Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998
This book is of great help to the pastor who found his seminary lacking in its ability to simply set forth the mandate to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Drs. Stephen and David Olford have set forth a treatise for proclaiming and reclaiming expository preaching as the only preaching that is truly preaching. Their definition of expository preaching is the basis for their explanation of the subject.
Expository preaching is the Spirit-empowered explanation and proclamation of the text of God’s Word with due regard to the historical, contextual, grammatical, and doctrinal significance of the given passage, with the specific object of invoking a Christ-transforming response (p. 69).1
Beginning with “The Walk To Pursue” and flowing through to “The Work To Perform” and “The Work To Proclaim” the Olford’s bring the reader, the preacher or the layperson to an understanding of his role in expounding the Word of God.
Of particular interest to this reader is the section on “The Preacher and Consecration” (p. 214). This is a subject that is not covered in most seminaries yet here is a whole chapter on the matter. I believe that it is probably one of the most overlooked and least understood of all the ‘mechanics’ of preaching. Maybe that is the key; it is not a ‘mechanic’ of preaching but a relationship to the only One who “can transform a manuscript into a message” (p. 214).
In this chapter, the Olford’s laid the ground work with their discussion of three blessings of the Spirit (pp. 216-7): baptism, representing our spiritual position in Christ; filling, representing our spiritual condition in Christ; and anointing, representing our spiritual vocation in Christ. From here, they flesh out what their understanding of consecration by discussing “The Promise of the Anointing”, “The Purpose of the Anointing” and “The Power of the Anointing”.
I appreciated the discussion of “The Secret of the Anointing” as found in the life of the Master. This discussion challenges the preacher to live a life of holiness, yeildedness and prayerfulness. By appropriating these three simple elements of daily living, the preacher receives immeasurable perception, power and passion in preaching God’s Word as the Holy Spirit gives and guides.
The Olford’s book concludes with a deft challenge from 2 Timothy 4:1-5 to preach the Word conscientiously, continuously, comprehensively and courageously. As you can see from this review, the book relies on alliteration for the delineation of its presentation. This practice has fallen out of favor because it is considered passé but it is one that I appreciate and employ. The current trend is to be edgy and hip to the exclusion of what works. However, according to learning theorists, alliteration is one of the best methods to help learners, especially adult learners, remember what they study or hear. I believe that this book is so instructive and enjoyable because, from beginning to end, it demonstrates the subject of expository preaching and alliteration. Because of this, it provides preachers with a practical knowledge of the most important function of the church, preaching the unchanging life-changing Word of God.
1. Although two other definitions are put forth, one from The Westminster Directory, the other from Paul in 2 Tim. 2:15, I believe that the definition given by the Olford’s is gleaned from the other two and serves as the driver of all that comes afterward.