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Cutting to the Heart

By Chris Green
February 2016 | Review by Tony Bickley
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-78359-293-7
  • Pages: 252
  • Price: 14.99
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Book Review

Though there are good things about this book, it’s uncertain who it is aimed at. Is it for preachers, congregation members, new believers or seasoned saints? It is hard to tell.

Advice is addressed to both ministers and new Christians, with enough overall material for two or three discrete books instead of the one we have to hand.

The book asks worthwhile questions regarding the role of a preacher. There is a helpful chapter on how the gospel changes such men (perhaps the best chapter in the book). It also decries ministers who preach for 20 minutes without getting to a point of application.

Some of the book’s remarks are rather glib. At one point it states that preaching is talking a lot about God, when in fact it is much more than this. A chapter on the ‘busy preacher’ I found to be unhelpful. It seemed to make excuses for the unprepared preacher.

The author also writes of preachers (and congregation members) who dread evening services because they deem them pointless exercises. I ask myself if men so described should be preaching at all, if they reveal such poor confidence in the Word of God.

A further shortcoming is that Green speaks of God ‘foretelling’ the future rather than decreeing or purposing it. Unfortunately many small things like this crop up.

Would I recommend this title? There are many helpful things in it, but they need to be teased out from irritating and, at times, simplistic statements. It does not fit the mould of preachers with whom I am familiar.

Cutting to the heart is a beginner’s book, easy to read and one that could be helpful to young Christians, but I think there are better books available that would engage a wider audience.

Tony Bickley


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