Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 08:1 (Spring 2004)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Preaching with Bold Assurance. By Hershael W. York and Bert Decker. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003, 275 pp., $21.99.

“What is the most important thing in communicating—content or delivery?” The answer is an emphatic “Both” according to Hershael York and Bert Decker’s Preaching with Bold Assurance. York serves as Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Decker is chairman and founder of Decker Communications, Inc. The book is somewhat of a sequel to the two authors’ first project together, Speaking with Bold Assurance (Broadman & Holman, 2001).

While much contemporary preaching theory pays lip-service to the need for both textual integrity and communication skill, the modern practice of preaching appears to worship the latter while giving only token acknowledgement to the former. In other words, much contemporary preaching is functionally non-biblical. At the same time, the often criticized practice of expository preaching is long overdue for a reformation from simply imparting information. Quite possibly the “95 Theses” for such a change can be found in this engaging book that calls for a wedding of sound biblical exposition with culturally relevant communication technique.

Shunning the tendency of preachers to simply fill their listeners’ heads with information, the authors champion for proclamation of the Word that grips people’s souls and motivates them to conform to the will of God. “Our approach to the Bible and to preaching,” they say, “has application as its ultimate goal.” Consequently, sermons must be custom-built to change lives.

Such an approach places dual emphasis on exposition and communication in order to conform listeners to the will of God. The authors refuse to allow preachers to choose between being either biblical or effective. They refreshingly call upon them to be both. Correcting the myth that expository preaching is one among many sermon forms, this book describes it as “the end result of explaining and applying the meaning of the text.” In other words, it is the kind of preaching that shows people the meaning of a biblical text and leads them to apply it to their lives.

Lamenting the rarity of true expositors in contemporary pulpits, York and Decker begin by calling preachers back to preparing sermons that are saturated with the Word of God so that they capitalize on its inherent power to change lives. To assist with such a task, the book provides extensive help for outlining and diagramming passages in order to engage the biblical text and allow it to drive the sermon.

After laying the foundation for exposition, the author...

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