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Review: Homiletics and Hermeneutics

Among evangelical preachers, many views on the homiletical process exist. These issues surround the theological and biblical underpinnings of what a sermon is meant to do, which informs interpretation, application, and proclamation. In Homiletics and Hermeneutics: Four Views on Preaching Today (Baker Academic, 2018), Scott Gibson and Matthew Kim gather four respected preachers: Bryan Chapell, Abraham Kuruvilla, Kenneth Langley, and Paul Scott Wilson, each offering their take on how the function of a sermon informs its preparation.

First up is Bryan Chapell, author of the celebrated preaching book Christ-Centered Preaching. In Chapell’s redemptive-historic view, he submits that all sermons are centered on Christ—not in that they mysteriously conjure Jesus out of each passage, but that each passage somehow points to God’s saving revelation in Christ. Next, Abraham Kuruvilla presents the christiconic view, maintaining that periscopes must be considered with respect to their original literary and historical context, rather than being drawn out or extrapolated. Kenneth Langley then argues for a theocentric view that places God’s mighty attributes at the fore of each and every sermon. Finally, Paul Scott Wilson, author of the famous Four Pages of the Sermon, uses his model of trouble and grace to show how a law-gospel view speaks to human needs while remaining biblically faithful.

Each contributor responds to the view at hand, providing a grace-filled yet lively debate on the nuances of each homiletician’s stance. The overall conclusion is that their methods may differ, but they end at a similar conclusion: sermons should be God-honoring and life-changing. This book is an excellent introduction to the matters that go behind a sermon and clearly delineate various evangelical approaches to homiletical hermeneutics. It is ideal for seminary students or pastors who desire to craft a more profound theology of preaching.

(A complimentary review copy was given in exchange for an honest review.)

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