The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life

I had read several really positive reviews of this book, so I was looking forward to getting into it. I did enjoy it but, I have to say, not as much as I had anticipated, and apparently not as much as others have.

On reflection, I think that what frustrated me was that the contents of this book should have been spoken and heard rather than read. I have no issue whatever with Smith’s thesis, that we need to bring good, sound biblical doctrine alive in our preaching and make it engaging and relevant to our hearers. Amen to that! And I love a preacher who uses words and paints word pictures in exactly the way Smith does; we can learn a lot from our African American brothers. But there were times I could not quite follow the flow of the argument, there is a frustrating amount of repetition of phrases and quotes, and more than once I felt that the parallel he was trying to draw between preaching and dancing was very forced.

By way of an example of how the author uses words so well, here’s a wonderful piece of text that I would love to have heard preached, but reads well anyway:

“We have heard about the love of God over the years, but after being in the presence of the Lord for a million years, we will only know just a little bit more of what the unconditional love of God really is. We have studied about the atonement for sin for a long period of time, but after staring at the nail prints in the Lord’s hands for a billion years and gazing at the Lamb that was slain for our redemption, we will know only a smidgen of what the atonement really means. We have thought long and hard about the holiness of God, and reminded our congregants, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). But after a trillion years we will know only a fraction about the holiness of God that causes angels to cover their feet and faces and to fly away as they sing a song that reverberates throughout the corridors of heaven, earth, and hell: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

“Consider a scene where a seagull is dispatched every year and flies to the Rock of Gibraltar, where it brushes its beak against that granite rock formation and flies away only to return a thousand years later. If that process is repeated every thousand years until the Rock of Gibraltar is reduced to sea level, in comparison, we would have only been in heaven for a day. There will never be a moment in time or eternity in which we will fully comprehend the doctrines of the Bible that we preach.”

Overall I did enjoy it and learned from it but I have to admit that it didn’t live up to the expectations I had.

Broadman & Holman Publishers (1 Jan. 2008) Review written in 2012

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