Jesus Christ: the Prince of preachers
171 pages; £8.00
This book, which comes with many commendations at the beginning, wants preachers to follow the example of Jesus in their ministry. There are eight chapters with headings like ‘Jesus viewed preaching as pre-eminent’, and ‘Jesus preached with a high view of Scripture’.
Each chapter is divided into three parts. The first is a brief exposition from a Gospel, the second is headed ‘Application for preachers, elders, leaders, and Bible teachers’. The third part, which is generally brief, is ‘Application for laypeople and congregations’. It is the preachers and elders etc. who are most likely to read and benefit from this book.
An early endnote states that the author will examine the words of Jesus without considering whether they are exactly equivalent to sermons preached today. As a result he has picked out eight themes which are certainly important but leave readers with unanswered questions.
For example, ‘Jesus was an expository preacher’ is certainly true, but was all his preaching expository, and didn’t he go from place to place so that he was more like an itinerant preacher than a pastor?
Again, Jesus undoubtedly preached for a verdict, but does that mean that ‘outline points should seek to be God-centred, in the present tense, in complete or full sentences, and distinctly practical’? The application goes far beyond what can be reasonably drawn from the example of Jesus and seems unnecessarily prescriptive.
There is a great deal here that will be of help to preachers if they accept it as good advice. All the themes considered are relevant today and, following the author’s cue, there are others that may well strike those who read the Gospels. There is, I believe, much more that could be said from a close examination of Jesus’ discourses. Perhaps a second book could follow this one.
Paul E. Brown