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Fall 1989 · Vol. 18 No. 2 · pp. 106–7 

Recommended Reading

Reading for Preachers

Arlee Johnson

Since 1980 more than eighty books about preaching have been published indicating both current interest in preaching and the ferment of ideas about what constitutes good preaching for our time. The list below presents what I consider the best of the more recent books.

Achtemeier, Elizabeth. Preaching About Family Relationships. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987. 118 pages. $8.95 (pb).

Combining an overview of the status of the family in contemporary culture with an explication of biblical teaching on the family, Achtemeier challenges us to preach frequently, forthrightly, and lovingly about family relationships.

Buttrick, David. Homiletic: Moves and Structures. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987. 498 pages. $14.95 (pb).

In an effort to bring new vitality to preaching Buttrick describes an approach to sermons that will enable the congregation to experience the text itself. This approach recreates the biblical message in ways appropriate to today’s media saturated audiences. Be challenged and stimulated, but read with discrimination (e.g., Buttrick’s view of inspiration).

Drakeford, John W. Humor in Preaching. The Craft of Preaching Series. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988. 110 pages. $6.95 (pb).

Drakeford argues for the legitimacy of humor in every part of the sermon as one of the most effective ways of overcoming hostility and building relationships with an audience in our day. Preachers looking for both an understanding of how humor works and ways of implementing it in preaching will {107} appreciate this offering, part of a series of uniformly insightful, helpful, and enjoyable works.

Greidanus, Sidney. The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. 374 pages. $12.95 (pb).

Greidanus grapples with ways the preacher can both discern the message of the biblical text and communicate it to a contemporary audience. He urges, and from various genres illustrates, a holistic approach to interpretation which combines historical, literary and theological dimensions.

Pitt-Watson, Ian. A Primer for Preachers. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986. 112 pages. $5.95 (pb).

Intended for theological students seeking to develop homiletical skills, this book will serve well preachers who have a sense that their own preaching has become stale. In addition to some of the usual “how-to” sections, Pitt-Watson discusses the theology of preaching in a lively, enjoyable writing style.

Shoemaker, H. Stephen. Retelling the Biblical Story: The Theology and Practice of Narrative Preaching. Nashville: Broadman, 1985. 180 pages. $6.95 (pb).

“Tell the stories in your preaching. . .; then trust them to work their holy power in you and in the lives of God’s people entrusted to you.” The book includes a number of narrative sermons dealing with biblical narratives and concludes with a concise chapter on the theology of narrative preaching.

Walker, Alan. Evangelistic Preaching. Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury, 1988. 110 pages. $6.95 (pb).

Here the reader will find both encouragement and instruction for sermons summoning people to faith in Jesus Christ including a good chapter on calling people to public commitment to Christ. Although somewhat slanted toward Methodism, this book should prove useful in a variety of settings.

Arlee Johnson is Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California.

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