Book Reviewed: Reformed Preaching – Proclaiming God’s Word from the Heart of the Preacher to the Heart of the People.
Author: Joel R Beeke, Published by Crossway~ Copyright 2018
ISBN: HC 978-1-4335-5927-3 pp 504.
Reviewed By: Pastor Tim Crockett
Well, another book on preaching for the record books. This was an excellent book and right up my alley as far as where my current interests are leading me. One of the goals I had this year was to read up on the old preachers, Puritans or otherwise and see what it was about their ministry and preaching that made not only popular then but popular for the generations to come. Puritan sermons, and practical works are read by many at a dizzying rate. Many of their works can be found at the Christian bookstores, not to mention on line sources.
Joel Beeke takes you down three tracks building one on top of the other culminating in the needs for today’s preachers.
In his first section covering Experiential Preaching, he goes over the definition and application of this mode of preaching. To quote the author, “Reformed experiential preaching uses the truth of Scripture to shine the glory of God into the depths of the soul to call people to live solely and wholly for God. It breaks us and remakes us”
His main point is that preaching isn’t just to be to the head, it’s both to the head and heart. We are not to merely come away “thinking” about the message but rather being moved to change as a result. Does our preaching penetrate into the hearts of God’s people.
In the second section, the author covers several Puritan authors leading up to the twentieth century. In my opinion an invaluable section with a wealth of information delving into the likes of Calvin, Beza, Perkins, Bunyan and Martyn Lloyd Jones and pointing out the highlights of their preaching and what made it experiential.
It’s important to note that to the Reformed preacher, preaching was central. The office of pastor to them was serious business. They carried to it a sense of gravity and reverence as they believed in their heart of hearts what they were doing was sacred.
Everything they did in their study, prayer life and even their life of holiness, centered on the office of the preacher. It was what “defined them” It drove them in life and practice. While I realize some wouldn’t even consider reading any material written Reformed preachers they are missing on some great practical material that will help in ministry.
I have read a lot of preaching books by several different authors from all kinds of backgrounds and while I have gleaned much from them the Reformed preachers continue to set the bar high as far the office of a preacher and preaching goes. Much can be learned from them. Mr. Beeke covers the pertinent details, giving you enough to grab onto and at the same time create a taste for more.
The third section takes all the practical principles found in previous chapters and puts them into today’s application. He stresses balance and he is correct as there is oftentimes too much focus in one area over another. He likens it to walking on a greased tightrope.
Sometimes we can get to fixated on one area to the exclusion of other very important doctrines. In my opinion, his comments regarding God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility were excellent. The gist of his comments was to just let the text speak if the main thrust of the text is God’s sovereignty then preach that, if another text emphasizes man’s responsibility then preach that. Don’t pit the two against each other. His emphasis was on the word as the final authority in all matters.
Let the scripture alone set the agenda.
Overall a great book, he is a pleasant writer with superb writing prose. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.