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Robinson, Haddon W. Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.
For any preacher who finds himself becoming lazy about the preparation of his sermons, Haddon W. Robinson's book, Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages, serves as a major wake up call. Robinson does not in any way espouse a lazy approach to preaching. As he states so eloquently, "Thinking is difficult, but it stands as our essential work. Make no mistake about the difficulty of the task. It is often slow, discouraging, overwhelming. But when God calls us to preach, He calls us to love Him with our minds. God deserves that kind of love and so do the people to whom we minister."[footnoteRef:1] Consequently, Robinson confronts the preacher whose sermon preparation relies on "inspiration" instead of preparation. Robinson's argument for expository preaching demonstrates how inspirational preaching does not demonstrate the level of love and respect for God's word that is expected from pastors. [1: (Robinson 2001)]
Roginson's approach to preaching requires active involvement and interaction with the word of God. It does not espouse a systematic, robotic (and ultimately mindless) approach to sermon preparation. Robinson explains how anything less than a total mind and spirit interaction with the scripture passage would never be sufficient. By covering all of the avenues of scriptural knowledge and understanding -- including context, language, personality, doctrine, psychology, culture, societal context, etc. -- Robinson removes any supposition that preaching is an easy job that just requires a couple hours one a week as preparation for the weekly sermon. Instead Robinson gives preaching the esteem it should rightly deserve as the intellectual, soul searching, God-inspired, whole self demanding job that it was deemed by God to become. If after reading this book a preacher can believe that God desires anything less from him, he should re-examine rather his calling was from God or solely self-motivated.
Although Robinson's lines of reasoning are exceptional, and his calling as a preacher irrefutable, he does at times get bogged down in the very mechanical, systematic style of lecture that he directs his readers to avoid. Perhaps it is because the subject matter that he is trying to cover is so complex, but at many points it is difficult to remember that this is a book about preaching -- thus shepherding the children of God -- and not a philosophical treatise on rhetorical devices. For that reason, I would suggest that this book not be passed out to immature Christians who are not able to keep the overall goal in mind and who might become caught up in the tinctures of "how to" preach. Without the ability to constantly remind yourself of why you are reading this book and what your overall purpose is, you could easily begin to read this book as a how-to manual on how to get people to agree with you and impress them with your knowledge instead of how to project the infinite majesty of Jesus Christ.
Who Should and Should Not Read this Book
This book is clearly not for the beginning college student who is just beginning to delve into the basics of critical thinking. Much of this book relies on a sophisticated understanding of rhetorical devices, and thus, the book cannot be approached without a sophisticated ability to rhetorically analyze your own and others methods of argumentation and persuasion. The ability to follow Robinson's instruction is very dependent on the reader's ability to reason. Knowledge of logical fallacies, rhetorical devices, complex grammatical constructs, and doctrinal truths are all essential to the reader's ability to correctly comprehend Robinson's arguments. Moreover, all of these abilities must be filtered through the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ because the use of all of these skills must function within the sincere desire of the reader to reach the lost for Christ and train the body of Christ to grow in Him.
This book is most definitely for the practicing preacher. Robinson states time and again that he is not presenting a formula for someone to blindly follow. Robinson expects his reader to recognize that the foremost calling of a preacher is serve God through the dissemination of His word. Moreover, the Word is not preached for God's benefit but for the benefit of his sheep, whom the preacher has been called to shepherd. Therefore, an inexperienced or new preacher…[continue]
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