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The Priority of Preaching

By Christopher Ash
February 2010 | Review by William Horsburgh

Synopsis

'This little book is written for ordinary ministers who preach regularly to ordinary people in ordinary places... Most of us preach in gatherings that are smaller than we would wish and tougher than we might have hoped when we entered pastoral ministry... There is a voice on our shoulders who whispers as we prepare, and then as we preach, "Is it really worth it?"' (from the Introduction) Christopher Ash tell us that it is worth it. More than that, he sets out a charter for preaching that draws from the very roots of the Old Testament — showing us that nothing in the world is more worthwhile — for preaching is God's strategy to rebuild a broken world.

  • Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1845504649
  • Pages: 128
  • Price: £7.99
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Book Review

The preface of this book describes its aim clearly: ‘This is the second in a series of books which looks at the culture and context of preaching and teaching God’s Word. We need help not just in “how to preach Bible books”, but clarity on the point and purpose of preaching and teaching.’

Christopher Ash writes to encourage ‘ordinary ministers who preach regularly to ordinary people in ordinary places, who may dream of being world-renowned but are going to be spared that fate’.

The chapters are based on three addresses given from Deuteronomy chapters 18 and 30, and four at the 2008 Evangelical Ministry Assembly. They are followed by an appendix, entitled ‘Give God the microphone’ and subtitled the ‘Seven blessings of consecutive expository preaching’.

Facing the unpopular image of preaching, the author stirs the heart with his exposition and call to embrace a biblical understanding of the preacher’s prophetic role. He carefully seeks to demonstrate that God’s authority was exercised in Israel through his Word.

Embracing Christ as the ‘prophet like me’ of Deuteronomy 18:15, he argues that, as in Old Testament times, so in the New, God’s authority is exercised in the church through the written word preached.

He goes on to contend that ‘Moses’ preaching is a model for us of how preaching ought to be’ (p.47). And then, finally, that such preaching is ‘God’s strategy to reassemble a broken world’ (p.78).

As far as I am concerned, the book accomplishes its aim to refresh and renew preachers. Buy it for yourself, or to give to those who ‘labour in the word and doctrine’. It can only do good.

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Preaching

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