Preaching Plus

There might be variations of homiletical math. In my teaching of Haddon Robinson’s philosophy of preaching I instruct my students that to get the idea of a passage one uses the following homiletical math formula: S + C = I. That is, subject question plus the complement answer equals the exegetical idea.
But it strikes me that we can apply homiletical math to other areas of preaching. We could call this formula “preaching plus.” That is, preaching can be considered as an addition to a given area of study. For example, preaching plus history directs us to discover how and if preaching has had an impact in historical development in any culture or context. Preaching plus psychology may help us to discover how preaching intersects with the field of psychology. Further examples may come to your
mind. But the point here is to help us to see that the intersection of preaching with other fields and situations or contexts is far-reaching.

Wanted: Catfish for Our Think Tank

What is needed are holy healthy places for thinking, interaction, and engagement without intellectual prejudice or divisiveness. We need think tanks more than we need labs. Our Evangelical Homiletics Society is not so much a lab as it is a think tank. A think tank consists of a body of experts who share ideas and advice to advance a chosen field of research and application. Unlike medical labs, think tanks are messy places. Not all ideas gain traction there. Advice can come off as criticism.
Sacred cows get slaughtered. Presuppositions are called into question. Novelty is neither embraced for novelty’s sake nor rejected on the same grounds. Catfish swim freely in healthy think tanks. By their presence, resistance, and “convince me” attitudes, they keep their colleagues’ minds from growing soft and mushy

Preaching to People in Pain

For this conference, Jesse Nelson asked me to speak about a new publication, Preaching to People in Pain. This book released in May of 2021 with Baker Academic. It’s a book that has long been on my heart as someone who has pastored people who are broken and hurting. How many of you have broken and hurting people in your churches today? I can assure you that all of us do. I remember pitching the book idea to Baker initially proposing the title of Pain-Full Preaching: Sharing Our Suffering in Sermons. For whatever reason, the marketing team relayed back that Pain-Full Preaching may not sell so why don’t we title it Preaching to People in Pain: How Suffering Can Shape Your Sermons and Connect with Your Congregation. Steve Norman is a pastor who has been writing
thoughtfully about preaching. In his new book, The Preacher as Sermon, published by Preaching Today, he shares a mantra for his ministry which is this: “Never underestimate the pain in the room.” This evening I don’t want to underestimate your pain or the possible pains that you’ve been going through over the past two years or more. They’ve been a very difficult two years for many of us. Ministry has not looked the same for any of us.

Preaching Hope and Lament from the Psalms

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast with in me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan . . . Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Psalm 42:5-7). Hope and lament. Usually, the order is reversed, as in Psalm 130: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD,” verse 1. Verse 7: “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” Lament and hope. In psalm after psalm we find this pattern: the petitioner begins: “How many are my foes! How long will you hide your face from me? Why do you stand afar off? God, I don’t understand, I don’t like, and I’m not about to acquiesce to this current state of illness, distress, injustice, persecution, danger, loss. But—(so much Gospel in that little word!)—I trust you. I know you are faithful to your promises. I wait in hope for the LORD, he is my help and shield. I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the LORD. Lament and hope.

The Culture of Note-Taking and Effective Sermonic Technique

Sermon note-taking has long been practiced in various “church cultures,” and some may wonder about the future of the practice. Challenges to note-taking include secondary orality, the emergence of the digitoral generation, and the technologization of the world. This paper, engages with homiletics, systematic theology, communication studies, and discipleship studies to demonstrate the relevance of note-taking for enhancing listener engagement during the sermon. First, ,this paper will suggest a biblical and theological premise for note-taking. Second, it will investigate the relationship of note-taking to good listening and journaling. Third, it will describe methods of effective note-taking for both oral and digitoral sermon hearers. Fourth, it will discuss the criticism that note-taking is a distraction to the listeners. This paper will show that note-taking is still practiced by church-goers, and that while it should be encouraged, it should not be forced on worshippers in any way.

Book Reviews (Vol. 22 No. 1)

Simplify the Message: Multiply the Impact by Talbot Davis (Reviewer: Christopher Priestaf)
Preaching for a Verdict: Recovering the Role of Exhortation by J. Josh Smith (Reviewer: Jody Alan Wolf)
Preaching to People in Pain: How Suffering Can Shape Your Sermons and Connect with Your Congregation by Matthew D. Kim (Reviewer: Jeffrey Arthurs)
Apostle of Persuasion: Theology and Rhetoric in the Pauline Letters by James W. Thompson (Reviewer: Timothy S. Warren)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Theology of a Preaching Life by Michael Pasquarello III (Reviewer: Alex Kato)
7 Lessons for New Pastors: Your First Year in Ministry, 2nd ed by Matthew D. Kim (Reviewer: Blayne Banting)
1 & 2 Timothy, Titus: A Theological Commentary for Preachers by Abraham Kuruvilla (Reviewer: Gregory K. Hollifield)
Ethical Approaches to Preaching: Choosing the Best Way to Preach About Difficult Issues by John S. McClure (Reviewer: Scott Lucky)
Third Voice: Preaching Resurrection by Michael P. Knowles (Reviewer: Jeremy McClung)
What’s Right with Preaching Today? The Enduring Influence of Fred B. Craddock edited by Mike Graves and André Resner (Reviewer: David Reese)
Preaching Christ from Leviticus: Foundations for Expository Sermons by Sidney Greidanus (Reviewer: Paul A. Hoffman)
Tethered to the Cross: The Life and Preaching of Charles H. Spurgeon by Thomas Breimaier (Reviewer: Eric Price)
Ephesians: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching by Gregory S. MaGee and Jeffrey D. Arthurs (Reviewer: Tim MacBride)
Ministers of Reconciliation: Preaching on Race and the Gospel edited by Daniel Darling (Reviewer: Kristopher Barnett)
Theology Is for Preaching: Biblical Foundations, Method, and Practice edited by Chase R. Kuhn and Paul Grimmond (Reviewer: Keith Essex)
Preaching Hope in Darkness: Help for Pastors in Addressing Suicide from the Pulpit by Scott M. Gibson and Karen E. Mason (Reviewer: Kyle Lincoln)
Living in God’s True Story: 2 Peter by Donald L. Morcom (Reviewer: Nicholas B. Marnejon)
1–2 Timothy & Titus by Andreas J. Köstenberger (Reviewer: Steele B. Wright)
Preaching with an Accent: Biblical Genres for Australian Congregations edited by Ian Hussey (Reviewer: Rodney A. Palmer)
Preaching in/and the Borderlands edited by J. Dwayne Howell and Charles L. Aaron, Jr. (Reviewer: Jesse Welliver)
Expository Preparation: Preparing Your Soul to Preach by Benjamin G. Campbell (Reviewer: Tony A. Rogers)
Always a Guest: Speaking of Faith Far from Home by Barbara Brown Taylor (Reviewer: Arica Heald Demme)
Lies My Preacher Told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament by Brent A. Strawn (Reviewer: Soloman R. Patrick)
Let the Legends Preach: Sermons by Living Legends at the E. K. Bailey Preaching Conference edited by Jared E. Alcántara (Reviewer: Matthew D. Kim)