Preaching in today’s postmodern world is a tall order. A new book from R. Albert Mohler Jr. aims to encourage and help pastors in this task: "He is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World." Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (in Louisville, KY) and well-known as a preacher himself. He takes very seriously his responsibility of grooming the next generation of preachers. Mohler is also a student of culture — a voracious reader with an enormous personal library, he hosts a podcast called "The Briefing," a "daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview." Mohler is thus uniquely positioned to help preachers reach today’s world.
Many might imagine this book would advise a change of method to reach today’s visually-based culture; but they would be disappointed indeed! Mohler stands in the tradition of the Reformation in exalting the role of the preacher and the place of preaching. He advocates for expositional preaching that gives the Word of God and its message to the hearers: "…our preaching had better be nothing less — and nothing other — than the exposition of the Bible. Nothing else will do" (p. 63).
The book is a simple explanation of preaching with helpful quotes and historical background thrown in. Each chapter is a sermon itself — with an analysis of a biblical text standing behind the shape of the material. He emphasizes unpacking the big story of Scripture, and also declares that expository preaching is “the only form of authentic Christian preaching” (p. 49). I get the sense that he is talking about preaching through books (verse-by-verse) – but he doesn’t define expositional preaching exactly. His burden is to prevent preaching from devolving into "a series of disconnected talks on disconnected texts" (p. 19).
Mohler also sees a need for pastors to be theologians: "Today’s pastors must recover and reclaim the pastoral calling as inherently and cheerfully theological" (p. 109). His emphasis of this point and assessment of postmodernism were highlights for me. Equally helpful was his cry against "wee little" sermons and encouragement to let the big story of Scripture shape our preaching.
Mohler is eminently quotable, which makes reading the book easy. He packs several one-liners and poignant observations into each chapter. You can almost hear him speaking to preacher boys in a class room as you read these chapters. I highly recommend this helpful little book on preaching. If you are looking for something to encourage or guide you in the preaching task, look no further than "He is Not Silent."
Disclaimer: this book was provided by the publisher for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to provide a positive review.