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Pray, plan, prepare, preach – establishing and maintaining priorities in the preaching ministry

By Iain D. Campbell
October 2012 | Review by Peter Rowell

Synopsis

The New Testament places a great emphasis on preaching – that is, the public heralding of the message of God’s Word. In many churches, preaching has been sidelined by activities, or else has become squeezed out by other pressures. This book not only is a call to faithful, expository ministry that will elevate Christ, feed minds and move hearts; it also contains important principles to help Christians understand what authentic preaching is, and to assist those who are preachers to preach better. By giving attention to preachers of the past, this book will guide the heralds of God’s truth towards faithful and relevant preaching for our day.

  • Publisher: Day One
  • ISBN: 978-1-84625-149-8
  • Pages: 128
  • Price: 6.00
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Book Review

This is a truly excellent book for preachers and hearers, though its main emphasis is a deep concern for preachers. The Introduction sets the basis of what follows, ‘Every time the gospel is preached, God’s mind and will are being revealed’. It lays down relevant positive and negative Biblical requirements for God-commissioned preachers, that they be male, moral, and that they do not ‘joke their way through sermons’. We are told that ‘preaching that is most biblical, Christ exalting and other-worldly will also be most contemporaneous and relevant’.

      The first chapter gives a series of extracts from the excellent book, ‘The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire’ showing the eminent spirituality of those men of the 19th Century, the power of their ministries, and the use that the Holy Spirit made of ‘words in season’ to the hearers.

      The second chapter on the preacher’s prayers, quotes from Thomas Boston’s book, ‘The Art of Man-Fishing’ to stress what all real preachers surely must know, ‘Christ was much in prayer, and that before he preached (Luke 9.18), follow him in this, O my soul. Thou hast much need to pray before thou preachest’.

      The third chapter is on planning a sermon and one of many forceful comments is this, ‘To preach Christ from all the Scriptures is no easy task, but it is our calling, and it is what will bring our people back to church again and again’. There are interesting comments on expository and textual preaching with encouragement for textual preaching that is expository from the pattern of C.H.Spurgeon and Kenneth Macrae.

      Chapter four on preparation, stresses that preaching must be expository, theological, logical, practical, solemn, and powerful. A few useful hints are given as to the preacher’s lifestyle.

      The last chapter concentrates on the practice and experience of preaching as an ambassador, a herald, and a witness. In these days when ‘dressing down’ seems to be being made essential for a preacher’s relevance it is good to have a warning lest our appearance gives the impression ‘that our business is slight, shallow, and of little consequence’. There is a relevant warning on the use of humour in the pulpit.

      This is a short book but it is full of relevant comment, forceful and helpful instruction, encouragement and godly application. It is most warmly recommended.

 

Dr. P. M. Rowell.

Crowborough

 

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