Friday, July 8, 2011

"Faithful Preaching": A Book Review

"Faithful Preaching: Declaring Scripture with Responsibility, Passion, and Authenticity"
by Tony Merida

While a student at Criswell College many years ago, I was required to study homiletics, the science, the techniques, and the practice of preaching. I recall the class being extremely interesting and quite practical for me who, as a young Christian, had done very little preaching. We had a couple of textbooks on the subject which were helpful but a laborious read. After "plowing" my way through them, I concluded any textbook on the subject of homiletics must be somewhat of a bore.

Now, thirty plus years later, I read Tony Merida's homiletics text and discover how wrong I was! Dr. Merida has penned a terrific work in the field of preaching. His book is not only informative but it is written in a very interesting and very readable way. Furthermore, I find the work quite inspirational. The author encourages preachers to be expositors and to preach expository sermons. This book is not only the work of an experienced professor teaching his subject but also from the heart of a pastor who loves God and His Word.

The volume is 240 pages in length and approaches the study in 4 parts. They are entitled:

1. Faithful to the Triune God: Trinitarian Convictions for Expository Preaching.
2. Faithful to the Word of God: How Busy Pastors Prepare Christ-Exalting Expository Messages
3. Faithful to the Call of God: Watching Our Life and Doctrine
4. Faithful to the Mission of God: Preaching the Gospel in Our Generation

I found the second part to be the most informative. Dr. Merida provides great insight and guidance on how to develop expository messages. While this process is virtually the same as found in other homiletical works, the author uses a very straightforward and simple means in explaining the procedure. For example, in the chapter on studying the text, the 4th phase of this step asks the question “How is the Gospel Related to This Text?”, Dr. Merida writes:

“This redemptive step is often left out of books on biblical interpretation. It is both theological and exegetical. ... The purpose of integrating biblical theology to exegesis is to look for redemptive themes and Christological connections that display the unity of the Bible. ... To miss the redemptive connection is to miss an important piece in interpretation. ... The grace of God in Christ should be integrated naturally, not artificially in exegesis, and woven throughout in the application of your sermon.”

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend to any who preach (or teach!) the Word. Dr. Merida has given us a great work on the subject of preaching. Now, if only I could preach as well as he writes...

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