September 21st, 2015| Topic: aBeLOG, Definition | 0


“What could be more full of meaning?—
for the pulpit is ever
this earth’s foremost part;

all the rest comes in its rear;
the pulpit leads the world. …

Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out,
and not a voyage complete;

and the pulpit is its prow.”

So wrote Herman Melville in Moby-Dick a century ago.

I agree. With the pulpit for a prow, humanity is led by preaching into a unique world, an ideal world, God’s world, where it may dwell with him. That makes preaching a kind of address that has no parallel. At least, that’s how I see it—my vision.

This Vision is now out in a book. Here is my vision in one sentence, individual elements of which are unpacked chapter by chapter in the pages of A Vision for Preaching: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry (Baker, 2015).

Biblical preaching, Preaching is Biblical
by a leader of the church, Preaching is Pastoral
in a gathering of Christians for worship, Preaching is Ecclesial
is the communication of the thrust of a pericope of Scripture Preaching is Communicational
discerned by theological exegesis, Preaching is Theological
and of its application to that specific body of believers, Preaching is Applicational
that they may be conformed to the image of Christ, Preaching is Conformational
for the glory of God Preaching is Doxological
—all in the power of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is Spiritual


What exactly constitutes preaching, and what is it intended to accomplish? In these days when preachers have to compete with the latest in technology and the ultimate in media, when they have to battle the trends of culture and the apathy of a new generation, a fresh look at preaching, the heart of the pastor’s calling, is essential. And that is what I’m doing here—proposing a vision for preaching: what preachers (and churches) can aim for as a goal to move towards. In other words, his vision for preaching is a recommended trajectory, a momentum to develop, a road to travel. By mining church history, teasing out connections, sifting through biblical theology, tackling some existing misunderstandings, and exploring some significantly new terrain, I attempt to portray a full-orbed vision for preaching.

You can tell that I’m being pretty ambitious here. This vision is quite expansive and has a reach that touches every aspect of pastoral ministry. Hence the subtitle: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry.

I offer this work is as a big-picture depiction of the preaching task, to show how it fits in with the rest of pastoral ministry, how it is consistent with biblical and systematic theology, how it incorporates aspects of communication theory, rhetoric, and language philosophy, and how it plays a key role in the spiritual formation of God’s people, through Scripture and by the agency of the Holy Spirit, all for the furtherance of Christ’s kingdom, and the exaltation of God’s name.

Check it out here; free chapter download on that page, as well.

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