Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Review: Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching

I have the great privilege of preaching a four week sermon series at my church in March. In Spanish. Though the Spanish part makes me a little nervous, after reading Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching I feel much more prepared.

Feed My Sheep is an anthology with each chapter coming from some well-known names in preaching. As with most any anthology, there are some authors and subjects that are better than others. My focus here is not to dwell much on those I didn’t like, but to point out a few of that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Chapter 1: The Primacy of Preaching
Selecting Albert Mohler to grace the first pages of the book was wise. For one, he is respected, well-known, and has built his reputation on sound Biblical exposition and commentary. His chapter, “The Primacy of Preaching,” serves as a powerful introduction to the topic and lays a solid foundation for the rest of the book. The message is clear: this book is for those who believe preaching is not just a method, but a mandate.

Chapter 5: The Teaching Preacher
R. C. Sproul gives readers insight into the mind of Martin Luther. Though he has done this in other books, the practical insight of Luther in relation to preaching is helpfully drawn out here and provides a useful aid to sermon preparation.

Chapter 7: Preaching to the Heart
Sinclair Ferguson’s topic was “Preaching to the Heart.” He spends some time addressing the meaning of “heart” in the Bible, which overlaps somewhat with the mind, volition, and emotions. At first the chapter seemed to avoid dealing with preaching to the emotions, but rounded out nicely by focusing on preaching to the whole person and not just one area (mind, volition, or emotions).

Chapter 8: Preaching with Authority
The chapter about preaching with authority, by Don Kistler was short and encouraging. He is quick to point out that pastoral authority is derived authority. The call to preach with conviction and confidence in the material resonates deeply with one who is somewhat timid to step up to the podium.

Unfortunately, Kistler took some liberties and didn’t build a strong biblical argument for the specific style of preaching, but a long theological treatise and a short note of encouragement is not easily to combine into one chapter. As such, it suffers in one area, but blooms in another.

Chapter 9: Evangelistic Preaching
On the flip side, Eric Alexander’s exposition of 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 was excellent and gave real biblical authority to his chapter on evangelistic preaching. This chapter, combined with John MacArthur’s exposition from 2 Corinthians 4, gave both practical advice to preachers, but also a helpful example of biblical exposition.

Despite the all-star cast, a couple chapters were not as good. The one by James Montgomery Boice, which I was looking forward to reading, was somewhat difficult to follow and didn’t have a logical or smooth flow from passage to passage or thought to thought. R.C. Sproul, Jr. failed to do his topic much justice as it was too short and didn’t convey the same kind of zeal the other contributors had.

However, these disappointments were rather minor and the book as a whole was rather helpful and enriching. Other chapters that I thoroughly enjoyed were “Expository Preaching” by Derek H.W. Thomas and “Preaching to Suffering People” by John Piper.  The sheer number of fine contributors and fine messages makes the book worth looking over.

To buy the book, visit (direct link).

If you're interested, but not sure, download a copy of the first chapter
here. It has Albert Mohler’s opening chapter and is well worth the read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Trust Publishers as part of their book review program.

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