The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

Why Johnny Can’t Preach

In some senses, this book could be regarded as a potential ‘last will and testament’ of its author, who, at the time of writing, was undergoing treatment for cancer with only a 25 per cent likelihood of success.

Mercifully, David Gordon is currently in remission, and, equally mercifully, did not significantly edit his work which is marked by a sense of urgency and conviction. He speaks his mind in a gracious but earnest manner, and about things that need addressing in this way.

Gordon’s main contention is that the vast majority of today’s preachers have been so affected by trends in our media culture that they are unable to deliver sermons characterised by the seven basic features of expository preaching listed by R. L. Dabney – textual fidelity, unity, evangelical tone, instructiveness, movement, point and order.

The author does not blame the theological training received by preachers, so much as the illiterate, sound bite, triviality obsessed world of communication surrounding us all. This means that preachers are not able to read and write, at least not in the classical sense.

We lack preachers who are orators, using sacred rhetoric, and who have learned the art of crafting words and expressions. Often, they can’t string coherent sentences together; they are mentally dependent on their keyboard delete button and computer spell-check.

Gordon admits that his thesis is based on his own personal observations and that it reflects the scene among conservative evangelical churches in North America. However, I believe that what he says is equally applicable in the UK, where exposition has become the exception.

 P&R Publishing (13 Feb. 2009)

0 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *