on 5 November 2015
Here is the collected wisdom of one of the twentieth century's greatest preachers. The founder of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and for many years Rector of All Souls, Langham Place, John Stott was not only a consummate Bible teacher himself but a trainer of a whole generation of evangelical preachers as well. Preaching is not dead; it is alive, kicking and essential to effective Christian life and ministry.
The book covers the whole theme of preaching under eight sections, each with small chapters within it. Among them are: theological foundations for preaching, the call to study, preparing sermons, sincerity and earnestness and, at the end, courage and humility. Stott sets out how God has always used preachers and preaching to communicate his message. We have, he insists, a God who speaks, and the Bible is God's words as well as God's Word. God calls people through the faithful preaching of that word, but it requires commitment, preparation and the right attitude from those who would have that ministry.
Here is an exploration of all that is central about the art and craft of the sermon, and that fundamentally our task is the accurate exposition of what the Bible itself says; that it is God's word that has the power to change lives, not the preacher.
There are many excellent books on this theme in the shops: 'Expositional Preaching' by David Helm and Timothy Keller's 'Preaching', both at the introductory end of the scale. For a more heavyweight approach there is 'Speaking God's Words' by Peter Adam. But with Stott you not only get practical instruction, you get the accumulated lifetime wisdom and insight of a master. While the book is not in any sense a biography, I suspect it tells just about everything that mattered most to Stott in his lifetime. For that reason it would be an enlightening read for any Christian, but for anyone who preaches it is pure gold.