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John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy (Studies in Baptist Life and Thought) [Kindle Edition]

David S. Dockery , Roger D. Duke
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

John A. Broadus (1827-1895) was a founding faculty member and the second president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He preached to Robert E. Lee’s army during the Civil War and later wrote the enduring classic, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. A. T. Robertson called him "one of the finest fruits of modern Christianity." Charles Spurgeon deemed him the "greatest of living preachers." A. H. Newman described Broadus as "perhaps the greatest man the Baptists have produced."

Indeed, the legacy of Broadus lives on today, reflecting a model author, teacher, preacher, scholar, seminary leader, and denominational statesman. This timely new biography, a collection of ten independently contributed chapters that address his work from various angles, presents Broadus as a shining example of balance, careful thinking, and biblical faithfulness in a season when Southern Baptists are seeking to re-establish a new consensus and move forward in the twenty-first century.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 19 Sept. 2014
By D R B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John A. Broadus as Pastor, Teacher, and Scholar 6 Jan. 2009
By Paul R. Waibel - Published on
In the history of denominations there is often one individual who is credited with having set the standards for those who followed. For Southern Baptists no one figure stands out more than John Albert Broadus (1827-1895), pastor, scholar and preacher extraordinaire. Much has been written about Broadus, so one may wonder why another book? John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy, edited by David S. Dockery and Roger D. Duke (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2008) is a collection of essays by prominent Baptist scholars meant to provide the reader with a well-balanced view of Broadus' role in shaping the defining characteristics of what it means to be Southern Baptist.
In his brief Introduction to the volume, Timothy George points out that although Broadus was very much a southerner, he was equally at home delivering a lecture series at Yale Divinity School or preaching a sermon at the Charlottesville (Va.) Baptist Church, where he served as pastor during the 1850s. During the Civil War, he served as a chaplain to the Confederate Army. As his reputation spread after the Civil War, Broadus shared the same platform with the noted English Christian speaker Henry Drummond at D. L. Moody's annual Northfield Conference. None other than Charles Spurgeon called Broadus the "greatest of living preachers." The book's contributors demonstrate that many of what are often termed the "distinctives" of Southern Baptist faith were emphasized by Broadus.
Roger D. Duke explains how Broadus' popularity as a preacher was based on both his conviction that the art of preaching must emphasize making the deep truths of God's inspired word understandable to the congregation, in order that the Holy Spirit might use the sermon to bring the lost to a saving knowledge of the gospel. In his classic work A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons (1870), Broadus quoted St. Augustine: "Make the truth plain, make it pleasing, make it moving" (72). But the exposition of truth was to be based upon a sound scholarly study of the Scriptures themselves and the best biblical scholarship of the day. Broadus was himself a scholar trained in the classic philosophers as well as in biblical Hebrew and Greek. He was also trained in the scholarly languages of his time--classical Greek, Latin, German and French. Richard Melick notes that as a "preacher-scholar" and a "pastor-teacher" Broadus was exceptional for his day. He also suggests that in his scholarship and preaching Broadus anticipated many of the issues that concern Baptists today.
In one of the most interesting essays in the book, "How to Preach Marketable Messages without Selling Out the Savior: Broadus on the role of Sensationalism in Preaching," Beecher L. Johnson shows that Broadus has some advice for seminarians preparing to pastor churches and preach the gospel in today's commercialized, media-driven world of middle class evangelicalism. Broadus spoke out forcefully in his day against the growing practice of sensationalism in preaching. It was not the legitimate appeal to the senses that Broadus criticized. In a lecture on the subject, he said: "Preachers must do all they can with propriety do, to make preaching attract attention-wake men up-compel them to listen, think, remember" (216). But Johnson notes that Broadus "also warned of the divisiveness of preaching on politics, the evil of promoting heresy to draw a crowd, and the shallow spiritual environment that too strong a focus on secular themes fostered" (219).
Broadus saw certain dangers in the use of sensationalism in preaching. Once employed, it would be nearly impossible to maintain the intensity, since the audience would expect a new "high" with each sermon. It also demeaned what Broadus felt was the sacred act of preaching. As Johnson points out, for Broadus the cross of Christ was the only legitimate draw, "the only thing that in the end would prove to be sufficient in leading men to Christ, transforming them, and keeping them in the faith." As Johnson concludes, for Broadus and those who shared his convictions, the pulpit was "no place for cuteness" (222). In short, Broadus feared that sensationalism in preaching would impair the listener's ability to discern the truth in a message, obscure the gospel, and at best, "inadvertently downgrade the message of Scripture to the level of life enhancement and the role of Christ to that of `life coach'" (237). As a solution, Broadus urged the preacher to look to Christ as his model. He should use plain language intelligible to the audience in order that the truth of the Bible might be made available to the common man or woman, that the lost might be saved, and the kingdom of God advanced.
In his concluding essay, "Broadus's Living Legacy," James Patterson points to Broadus's timeliness on an issue that has drawn much attention among Southern Baptists today, that is, the role of Calvinism. Broadus was one of the founding faculty of Southern Seminary, and he, like his colleagues, "openly identified themselves as Calvinists." But it was not the dogmatic, five-point Calvinism associated with the Synod of Dort (1618-19). It was one that "upheld a robust view of divine providence, single predestination, a `corrupt' Adamic sin nature, monogeristic salvation, and perseverance of the saints." In short, it was "an evangelical Calvinism that suitably balanced God's controlling hand in human history with an urgent sense of proclaiming the gospel to the lost" (245-246).
John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy should find its way onto the shelves of seminary libraries and into the personal libraries of ministers-especially but not only--Southern Baptists. It is both a worthwhile contribution to our understanding of Southern Baptist history and stimulus for a well informed presentation of the gospel message in a postmodern world.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Biography 23 July 2011
By Jacob Sweeney - Published on
The author of Hebrews admonishes us to "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith" (13:7). Reading biographies are an excellent way to fulfill this biblical expectation. I have read few biographies and found myself encouraged in many ways. I have learned to love biographies. However, some biographies can be dry, dull and difficult to read. All qualities which make important historical figures seem impossibly boring.

Fortunately, John A. Broadus is none of those things. This particular installment of the "Studies in Baptist Life and Thought" (series edited by Dr. Michael Haykin) is edited by David Dockery and Roger Duke. Each chapter is contributed by scholars and pastors who are well-learned and read in baptist studies. More importantly, they are good writers who can teach us well without boring us to death.

I appreciated this volume for a number of reasons. First, it provides readers with an accessible insight into the life, thought and ministry of an otherwise unknown American church leader. John Broadus is certainly a man worth knowing about and spending time with through his writings and writings like these. There is much we can learn from him.

Secondly, I enjoy the use of multiple contributors. There are advantages and disadvantages to this method. The editors even recognize some of them: overlap is inevitable. Besides, repeated detail is pedagogically sound. The more an idea is repeated the more aware we are of it and the more likely we are to remember it. Repetition is not always bad. Potential disadvantages aside, the multi-faceted perspective of multiple contributors helps to paint a full and rich picture of the man.

Thirdly, the story of a man who was both a scholar of Scripture and captivating preacher is a worthwhile example. He was an exceptional preacher as well as an a formidable scholar. The church could use more men in leadership like him. Hopefully, this biography will be used by the Lord to raise up men who follow his example seeing the outcome of his faith.

Note: In order to comply with the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I received the aforementioned title for the purpose of review. I was not required to furnish a positive review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Preachers Can Learn from Broadus 18 Oct. 2008
By Trevin Wax - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am excited about the new series being published by Broadman and Holman called "Studies in Baptist Life and Thought." With Dr. Michael Haykin at the forefront of this project as the series editor, Broadman and Holman promises to deliver a series of insightful books on Baptist history.

The first installment of this new series is devoted to the man who is most responsible for the tenor and content of the great expository preachers of the Southern Baptist Convention. John A. Broadus served as the second president of Southern Seminary in the 1889-95. But even before his leadership as president, Broadus gave Baptists an example of "balance, careful thinking, biblical faithfulness, and denominational statesmanship." (xi)

John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy consists of essays from a variety of Baptist scholars. The book feels, at times, as if it were condensed from a two-day conference on Baptist history. Because the scholars did their work separately, there is a fair amount of repetition in each essay, especially in the biographical information. (Occasionally, the repetition makes its way into the same essay!)

But the level of scholarship represented within these pages makes the book well worth the reader's time. Here are some of the chapters I found most helpful:

In the introduction, Timothy George summarizes Broadus' life and assesses his legacy.

Roger Duke summarizes and explores Broadus' most important work: A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. He shows how Broadus borrowed liberally from the principles of classical rhetoric. Broadus was also a firm advocate in learning the biblical languages and employing the Canons of Rhetoric in delivering a sermon. Broadus believed that a preacher does not invent the chief materials of a sermon. These materials are the result of previous acquisition and reflection. (The lesson here for preachers? READ!) Duke also shows that Broadus never believed in pitting systematic theology and biblical exegesis against one another.

David Dockery writes about how Broadus' legacy was carried on by A.T. Robertson. Broadus was a careful scholar. The biblical text reigned supreme. Broadus' legacy was earned by his devotion to biblical exegesis, expositional preaching and church-focused theology. Robertson learned from Broadus. He never feared taking into account recent developments in critical scholarship, but he held fast to the authority of the Bible.

Beecher Johnson's chapter is the most practical. He uses Broadus as an example of a preacher who could preach "marketable messages," but without "selling out the Savior." How did Broadus manage to avoid sensationalistic preaching and yet still captivate his congregation? By modeling his preaching philosophy after Jesus' teaching. Broadus encouraged his students to emulate Jesus, not chase the current fads.

Preachers should learn from John A. Broadus. The new book from Broadman and Holman helps us along in that task.

3.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed but Necessary Read. 24 May 2014
By A&J Torrey - Published on
Editor: David S. Dockery & Roger D. Duke
Publisher: B&H Academic
Reading Level: Moderate
Pages: 260

“Suppose we quietly agree that the Seminary may die, but we’ll die first.” (138)

The name John Broadus may not ring bells to Baptist anymore. But at one time the name John Broadus could not be separated from the entity that is now the Southern Baptist Convention. Thus John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy (hence referred to as A Living Legacy) was compiled to restore the memory of this one-of-a-kind pastor, preacher, professor, and seminary president. Edited by David Dockery and Roger Duke, the book presents the life and history of John Broadus and his monumental efforts in educating Baptists, especially Southern Baptists, throughout his life.

The Communication
As a multi-author biography, A Living Legacy presents the life of John Broadus in a topical fashion. With attention paid to Broadus’ general history (chapter 2), preaching (chapter 3) and modern relevance (chapter 5) the full wealth of knowledge about the great Baptist John Broadus is presented. As a result however, the foretold “overlap” in content (xi) does in fact occur radically. Though each chapter can be “read on its own” (xi) the flow of the book as a whole is disrupted in the later chapters as most of the material is already well known or quoted.

Despite these overlaps, the material itself is well presented by each author. The book reads as if intentionally written for laymen and pastors alike. Given the overlapping content, the book can be read slowly or as the opportunity arises without losing the context of Broadus’s life.

The Content
The content of A Living Legacy is the life and memories of John Broadus. As a man, Broadus provides a wealth of utterly fascinating stories. It was under his ministry that the venerated missionary “Lottie Moon” was baptized (127). His greatest enduring written work, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, was derived from homiletics lectures prepared for a class consisting of one blind student (20). And it is known that he turned down a $10k/year pastorate to be the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (paying $3k/year).

A Living Legacy details Broadus’ conviction for the need of Baptist education resulting in the founding of SBTS (chapter 6). At the same time, John Broadus left a lasting legacy of textual criticism and hermeneutics via his commentary on the gospel of Matthew (chapter 5). During his day, Broadus was commended as one of the greatest living preachers, his advice on sermon delivery (chapter 3, 7, and 8) and his stark criticism of sensationalism (chapter 9) remain valuable for preachers to this day. With John Broadus, the man, as the content, A Living Legacy breathes fresh life into the memory of a man that no Baptist should forget.

That said, the arrangement and repetition of the content in A Living Legacy is poor. When read straight through, the final two chapters (chapters 9 and 10) present almost no new material on the life of Broadus. Read as stand alone chapters they would present the awesome content that is the life of Broadus. But as is, they feel like a tired refrain of a song that simply won’t end. Similarly, quotes from Broadus and his son-in-law A.T. Robertson are used in multiple chapters and quickly lose their insightfulness.

Despite some negative aspects, A Living Legacy is a must read. The life and work of John Broadus is well presented in its entirety. The strength and dedication of John Broadus is a stirring model for modern pastors and professors alike.

The downside of A Living Legacy is that it presents this wonderful content multiple times. The book could be three quarters its current length and be equally valuable to the Baptist community. Nevertheless, laymen and pastors alike will benefit greatly from the content and should plan to read the book slowly with ample time between chapters to negative the overlap in content.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
4.0 out of 5 stars It can become a little tedious unless you are interested in homiletics or public speaking 21 Feb. 2015
By Rick Shrader - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an updated history of Broadus. A number of writers contribute to the whole book. It is largely a critique of Broadus' well-known book, Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. It can become a little tedious unless you are interested in homiletics or public speaking. The book does reinforce the religious strength of 19th century churches, religious schools, and universities.
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