Preach the Word – A Book on Preaching, Edited by Greg Haslam

This newly released 600-page book needs to quickly become part of the library of every preacher who wants to learn what some of the most influential preachers in the UK think of our shared art, which some have called the highest calling any man can ever receive.

Based on an extended preaching conference, this book includes contributions by a wealth of the very best UK preachers.

Editor Greg Haslam begins the book with an introduction to preaching and ends it with appendixes on the relationship between being filled with the Spirit and preaching and on the so-called “Ephesians 4 ministries.” Greg spent over twenty years pastoring a newfrontiers church, so if my recent coverage of the Together on a Mission conference has whetted your appetite, the book is worth buying just for this section.

John Stott follows up with a chapter on the paradoxes of preaching. It is amazing to think that he is still preaching. I will never forget hearing him in the flesh — as he put it, “a preacher preaching to preachers about preaching.”

Liam Goligher surveys preaching in church history and argues that preaching presupposes a view of the Bible as the “book that speaks for itself.” Mark Stibbe discusses the gift of teaching and what we can learn from Jesus’ model of preaching.

Michael Eaton explains his view of “God-centered” preaching, and introduces us to expository preaching through books of the Bible. Phillip Greenslade focuses on the priestly effects of preaching and how to “preach the big story.”

Greg Haslam asks, “What makes a good sermon?” whilst David Pawson describes how his own style of preaching evolved over the years through several different forms, and also how to preach to the whole person.

Terry Virgo boldly describes three of the ascension gifts of Jesus — the apostle, prophet, and evangelist — and focuses in on what he calls apostolic preaching, as well as what it means to give ourselves to the word of God and prayer.

An entire section is devoted to the anointing of God and preaching for a response — David Holden and Colin Dye contribute much of this. This is followed by a very practical section about the “nuts and bolts” of sermon preparation and connecting with the real world, brought to us by Stuart Reid, Chris Wright, Mike Pilavachi, Greg Haslam, and Jeff Lucas.

Preaching can bring both unity and division in local churches and between different types of churches. Joel Edwards (head of the UK’s Evangelical Alliance) hopes for the former — but with Haslam’s chapter on prophetic preaching, we may have to concede sometimes the latter is appropriate! Doug Williams explores Pentecostal and black preaching, as well as the spiritual warfare aspects.

Another big section is devoted to preaching into the culture, and the evangelistic effects of preaching. J. John, Michael Ramsden, and Mark Stibbe bring their insights here.

The book itself ends with a section on the making of a preacher — the famous answer to that question we all hate: “How long did it take you to prepare that sermon?” “Thirty years!” springs to mind here. Steve Brady, Jeff Lucas, and Greg Haslam discuss the calling, making, maturing, and where necessary, recovery of the preacher.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is available online from a UK website, but will be posted anywhere in the world. Buy a copy for yourself, for your pastor, for your missionary friend overseas — in short for anyone with an interest in preaching!

The book is available from Sovereign World, who will deliver it to you wherever you are and I will close with what they say about it themselves:

In changing times, one thing does not change: the quiet, but insistent, call of God to preach the Gospel. Yet there has been a widespread loss of confidence in the Scriptures and growing confusion about their message. As a result, our witness has often been muted, timid, and unclear.

One of the greatest casualties has been the decline of bold, authoritative, and powerful popular preaching. Many critics have predicted the total demise of preaching from church life altogether, since it is increasingly seen as an outmoded relic of a former age. The result of this loss has been a widespread leakage of spiritual power, declining numbers, and stunted spiritual growth in many churches.

In the autumn of 2003, at Westminster Chapel, we embarked upon a preaching school that sought to provide a remedy for this problem. It was simply called Preach the Word! My hope was that it would help raise the calibre, profile, and effectiveness of authentic biblical preaching across every denomination and stream in the Body of Christ.

A wide range of outstanding teachers, preachers, and communicators were invited to share their skills, wisdom, and strongest convictions on a host of themes related to this great task, and a large number of delegates gathered each month to give them an enthusiastic hearing. The transcripts of these teaching sessions have been edited and distilled into this single volume in an effort to reach and engage an even wider audience. These presentations will encourage renewed confidence in the importance of this ministry, and impart practical know-how in its development, both in beginners just 17 starting out on this call, as well as those considerably more experienced in the work. Men and women of all ages who are called to this task will benefit greatly from this extraordinary collection.

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