Archive for October, 2008

Speaking God’s Words

October 22, 2008

I’ve read a number of books on preaching over the years and have just finished reading another- Peter Adam’s Speaking God’s Words. It is possibly one of the most helpful and challenging of all the books that I have read on the subject. It is useful on a number of levels. First of all it seeks to present a biblical theology of preaching which is very helpful. Secondly, he deals not only with preaching but what he describes as a ‘ministries of the word’ which I found stimulating and challenging. Thirdly, he deal with preaching within the context of the work of ministry which is a very helpful section for thinking through the place of God’s word in church ministry. Fourthly, he gives quite a bit of space to the issue of application which I again found helpful and challenging.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a theology of preaching or anyone engaged in ministry. Sadly it i no longer in print from IVP and second hand copies are ridiculously expensive. But there is now a reprint available at a reasonable price on the Internet. Very helpful.

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Keller’s Reason

October 14, 2008

I’ve just finished reading Tim Keller’s Reason for God. I enjoyed it greatly, found it encouraging and also a challenge to engage others with the great gospel in a world that is tossed about with all kinds of ideas. It’s always difficult when you’re already persuaded to weigh the arguments made in an apologetic work. But Keller’s work is helpful on a number of levels.

First of all, the arguments he is dealing with are contemporary arguments and how they are put in the contemporary world. He does not try to engage with straw men as some apologists seem to do. Secondly, there is much to learn from the clear yet irenic tone of his work. I’m reminded of Francis Schaeffer’s words that the aim is to win a  convert not an argument. His tone is very different from the virulent tone of Dawkins, Hitchens et al. Thirdly, he deals very well with the whole demand for ‘cast iron certainty’ that many seem to seek today. His approach that in building the case for Christianity we are not trying to make the whole case rest on our ability to make watertight arguments but to encourage others to weight the overall evidence is a useful approach. Fourth, and perhaps above all, Keller is writing from his own experience. These are the arguments he has engaged in and with as he has engaged New Yorkers as he has seen the church grow in the city.

My biggest problem with Keller’s work, and it’s my problem rather than his, is how we deal with these arguments not with the intelligentsia of New York but the middle class, apathetic materialists I encounter. A book about that is one I would really like to read.