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The Anatomy of Preaching
Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989.
David Larsen took quite a different approach to the writing of this book. It seems as if he simply wanted to deal with various issues in the preaching arena.
I especially enjoyed Chapter 4 in his dealing with the issue of, >“What Is Happening To The Preachers? The Issue of Spirituality.” He reminds the reader that one’s inner spiritual life is of the utmost in importance when it comes to effective preaching. I agree with him in that many preachers today seem to have a heart that is becoming increasingly calloused to the Spirit. I believe that the preacher should live in this world, and know his culture better than any person around. However, it is crucially important that we never succomb to letting our worldly knowledge become worldliness!!!
I also appreciated Larsen’s stressing of the importance of variety in preaching in order to escape predictability. Being able to show fresh angles on the “old, old story” as Larsen calls it, is paramount to any preacher’s prophetic ministry.
Later on in the book Larsen deals with a similar issue surrounding the idea of creativity through the imagination. One area in which I think Larsen could have strengthened his ideas on this issue is in the area of how one actually becomes a more creative preacher. Larsen stresses the importance of knowing fine literature, wordsmithing, turning phrases, and so on.
I certainly believe this enhances a preacher’s ability to communicate, but creative and imaginative words alone will not help a preacher keep the attention of today’s MTV generation. Words only touch one of the senses ... audio.
I believe that one must incorporate the visual as well if one ever wants to try and connect with a culture that is media driven. Larsen does give some practical advice in this area that many preachers would do well to take, and that is this: in order for the creative process to really work, one must have time to “brood” over the sermon material. Creativity very rarely comes under pressure!!
On the whole, I liked the book. I think Larsen has some timely things to say about the issues surrounding preaching, and I’m sure I’ll refer to it again in the future.
Preach On ... Jason Cruise