Review: I found this book inside Eerdmans Bookstore in Grand Rapids, MI. I was already racking up a sizable book bill during my trek down there to hear William Lane Craig in a snow storm. I picked up this book and put it back three or four times. Then I read the first chapter. I suddenly had the distinct impression I had come down to Grand Rapids not so much to hear Dr. Craig talk about the multiverse, but to purchase and read this book.
The full title of the book is The Glory of Preaching – Participating in God’s Transformation of the World. Throughout the course of the book, Johnson delves into the mystery of how the preaching of the word transforms, and how God actually speaks through the message to transform both the preacher and the listeners.
My one critique of the book is the middle section, where Johnson gives instructions on how to construct a message that is faithful to the original meaning of the text, while communicating to the audience. I found myself in much agreement with him (with some lesser-squabbles here and there), but the entire section just felt out of place. It was too short to serve as terribly helpful tutor for sermon prep, and too long to skim through.
Regardless of this, the balance of the book, is absolutely marvelous. I have undoubtedly “learned” some things about preaching from this book . . . but what I found more valuable as a preacher is a renewed sense of awe over what happens every single week.
I am simultaneously humbled and inspired to understand how the Holy Spirit works through an ordinary chum like me to speak his words of life. I am beyond myself to know that the preaching event always accomplishes something . . . not because of my rhetoric or delivery, but because of the power of the Word.
Anyone who preaches needs to read this book. Period.
Preachers need to fully grasp the grandeur and the glory of what they are called to do – whether it’s once a year, or every week. Rather than go on, I’m going to share just a few of the wonderful passages from this book. (The rating will appear afterwards.)
“Something always happens.”
“Praedicatio verbi Dei est verbum Dei: The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God”
“Preaching works because somehow the risen and ascended Preacher being preached is actually doing the preaching himself. We do not stand up before others, Bible in hand, alone; we stand up in and with Jesus. We participate in the activity of another.”
“Jesus’ word not only informs, it performs; his word not only announces, it accomplishes what it announces.”
“Why, for all the ‘preaching’ (the quotation marks are my gentle way of wondering if all preaching is in fact preaching) that goes on in North America at the beginning of the third millennium, is North American culture so un-Christian, even anti-Christian? Why isn’t all the ‘preaching’ having a greater effect on the culture? If I may be so bold to propose an answer, it is because too much of the ‘preaching’ is good advice and not good news. Good advice without good news changes no one.”
“sermons are more ‘born’ than they are ‘constructed.’”
“Humility in preaching comes not by taking ourselves out of the picture, but by putting ourselves in the right place in the picture, under Jesus, pointing to Jesus.”
“the life of the preacher is lived not trying to avoid suffering but choosing to go with Jesus into [it].”
“When we stand up before other human beings, what do we see? […] When the authors of the New Testament look out at other human beings they see persons made by Jesus, for Jesus, held together in Jesus, longing for Jesus, only finally [complete] when in relationship with Jesus.”
“Something always happens.”
Rating: 5/5 (I loved it)
Find it here on Amazon.