Book Review of Preaching by Ear

November 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | 1 Comment
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Preaching by Ear

McClellan, Dave with Karen McClellan. Preaching by Ear: Speaking God’s Truth from the Inside Out. Wooster, OH: Weaver Book Company, 2014, 171 pp.

Here is a book on preaching that will make you think about your approach to sermon preparation and delivery. The author writes about his journey as a preacher and how he learned about connecting with the message and connecting with the people in such a way that they can hear and understand what he is saying.

The book is divided into two main parts; 1) Preparing the Preacher and 2) Developing an Orally Based Model of Preaching. Within these two sections are nine chapters. The book also has a prologue, epilogue, bibliography, Scripture index and general index. The author uses footnotes which help the reader look at the source.

McClellan uses and defines the term “preaching by ear” as speaking from personally held, deep convictions in a way that enables our words to unfold in the moment by considering the actural people present with us. We are well-prepared, but we’re not certain exactly how it will come out of our mouths (p. 5).

“Orality” is another term defined and used in the book. One good reason for reading the book will be to learn these terms if you are not familiar with them. Many people preparing for missionary service are probably familiar with “orality” or “storying.” Pastors should know these terms also. Better yet they should understand how to use them and how they can impact their ministries.

McCellan shares his understanding of these terms and how the process developed in his life and ministry. He seems passionate about wanting pastors’ lives to be impacted by the Word so that they live it, feel it, and embrace it. Then they need to know their people so they can connect with them in a believable way.

One interesting thing for me was learning a little more about Aristotle and about someone I never heard of before, Quintilian. I’ll encourage you to get the book and read to learn more about these men and they have impacted communication.

Much of the information in this book I have studied in different forms. I did learn some new things and would encourage pastors to read this book with both an engaged mind and heart. There are truths here that will benefit today’s preachers. I recommend this book to those looking for a new and good book on preaching. I would read it again.

I received this book from for free and was not required to give a positive review.

Book Review of Persuasive Preaching

November 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | 1 Comment
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Persuasive PreachingOverstreet, R. Larry. Persuasive Preaching: A Biblical and Practical Guide to the Effective Use of Persuasion. Wooster, OH: Weaver Book Company, 2014, 298pp.

Preaching is one of the things that I do as a pastor. In my course of studies I have had classes at the bachelor and master’s levels on homiletics and communication. Most of those courses were many years ago but I have continued to read books that would help me develop as a preacher of God’s Word and communicator with people. When the opportunity came to read and review this book I jumped at it.

The book is divided into four main parts with fourteen chapters. The prologue, epilogue, appendix section and bibliography comprise the book. There are two table of contents; one in brief and one much fuller. That was a good idea. Keep in mind this book is about persuasive preaching and what preacher does not want to be persuasive?

The four main parts are; 1) Issues Facing Persuasive Preaching; 2) Biblical Support for Persuasive Preaching; 3) Structuring Persuasive Messages; and 4) Pertinent Applications in Persuasive Preaching. The appendix section will remind you of Greek grammar class; actually so will other parts of the book. There are sample sermons in the fifth appendix. The bibliography comprises fifteen pages with URL sources.

Chapters 5 and 6 are worth the price of the book. Chapter 5, “A Pauline Theology of Preaching” was very good. That may sound vague, but it will make any preacher stop and think about his approach to preaching. The author gives three questions that need to be answered and then goes on to answering them in detail. I will let you read the book to find out what the questions are.

Chapter 6, “Paul’s Proclamation Exhortations” deals with a preacher’s credibility. The conduct and preparation of a godly minister are covered from 1 Thessalonians and 2 Timothy. This chapter will make a man think and pray. This section should be read by every preacher.

The author uses footnotes instead of endnotes which I appreciate. Overall this book should become required or supplemental reading for those studying preaching. Any pastor who wants a refresher course in persuasive preaching should get this book and learn from it. It is both challenging and encouraging.

I highly recommend this book to any pastor/teacher no matter how long they have been preaching. I am getting ready to take a doctoral class on preaching and I emailed the professor to see if this book could count as supplemental reading. Regardless of whether I can use it as supplemental reading or not, I will encourage the professor and other students to get it and read it.

I received this book for free from for review and was not required to give a positive endorsement.

Book Review of “The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen

November 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Book Reviews, Doctrine | 1 Comment
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The Foundation of Communion with God

McGraw, Ryan M. The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014, 149 pp.

With my schedule it has been quite a while since I have reviewed a book or even wanted to review any books. The title and summary of this book was very intriguing to me so I signed up with just a little hesitation. You see, I’ve tried to read some of John Owen’s works before and could not get through them.

This short book by Ryan McGraw gives us some information on John Owen and the outworking of his faith. It is not a stretch to consider John Owen a hero of the Christian faith. We need books like this one to help introduce this pastor/teachers from the past to new generations.

McGraw’s work covers some subjects that all Christians could stand to learn a little more about; the Trinity and public worship. We get to see through forty-one short chapters a glimpse into Owen’s theology and its practical outworking.

The book starts with acknowledgments and a brief introduction into Owen. Then there are three sections; 1) Knowing God as Triune; 2) Heavenly-Mindednesss and Apostasy and 3) Covenant and Church. The book closes with some suggestions to help the reader learn more about Owen.

If you have ever tried to read some of Owen’s works before you will find this book enjoyable and profitable. As I read I learned some truth and shared it with some people close to me. Now that I have finished the book my wife is going to read it based upon my recommendation to her. I hope that is taken as a high complement for McGraw’s work.

The forty-one short chapters could be added to a person’s devotional reading. As you read through each one you will find gems here that will make you stop and think and pray. There is much we modern readers could learn from the life and theology of John Owen.

I heartily endorse and recommend this book for any Christian. It will help the mature Christian as well as the young Christian grow in their understanding of theology and the outworking of it in their daily life. Many blessings came my way as I read through this work.

I received this book for free as a review copy from and was not required to give a positive endorsement.

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