Book Notice: Preaching the Farewell Discourse

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Kellum_preaching-the-farewell-discourseYou can’t say you weren’t informed. Scott Kellum’s fine new book, Preaching the Farewell Discourse: An Expository Walk-Through of John 13:31–17:26, is published (B&H, 2014) and available for purchase.

Kellum, Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament at SEBTS, is perfectly positioned to write this book, as he is both an expert in the Farewell Discourse and a seasoned preacher. In the book, he argues that expository preaching is more than the serial public exegesis of a biblical book on Sunday mornings. He argues that preaching is a complex exercise that combines hermeneutics, exegesis, examination of literary context, illustration, and application.

He argues that the structure and concepts of a given text (from its largest to smallest parts) ought to form the structure of your sermon. Kellum says, “In an expository sermon everything about the text should drive the framework of the sermon (in both structure and concept).” (p. 12) In discovering the structure of a passage one discovers the meaning a biblical author wanted to convey. To preach is to discover that meaning and translate it into a contemporary idiom when the church gathers.

In chapter one, Kellum outlines his expository theory, which contains a step-by-step process for doing this. Sermon prep should include: an examination of literary context, identification of the historical context and canonical (whole Bible) context, and preparation of the proclamation, which includes outlining and illustrations (pp. 15–39). Chapter two contains Kellum’s method for analyzing the literary structure and flow of thought of John 13:31–17:26. He employs what linguists and biblical scholars call “discourse analysis” to show readers what he means. (He is clear that this is a way, not the way to study the text –– see p. 227.) Though the terminology may be new and somewhat daunting, Kellum ably explains this approach and demonstrates its payoff for studying the Bible.

Chapters 3–7 contain his study of each major section of the Farewell Discourse using the approach outlined in chapter 2. Each major unit (e.g. 14:1–31) is broken into smaller sections. Sermon sketches of these smaller units show how one moves from text to sermon. Each sketch shows the main idea of the text, main idea of the sermon, and an outline of the text. Two appendices offer practical helps in study resources (Appendix 1) and collected outlines of the Farewell Discourse (Appendix 2).

Kellum closes the book by saying, “Be confident that our Paraclete is working through you to his people. His Word will not return void to him. Set his Word on the wind, and watch the Spirit go where he desires. He requires you to be faithful. Abide in him. May God richly bless your preaching and teaching ministry.” (p. 227) The best books challenge our minds and stir our hearts. This book does both. It is well worth buying.


Heart to Heart: Octavius Winslow’s Experimental Preaching

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Turley BookOctavius Winslow (1808–1878) was one of the most influential evangelical preachers in the English-speaking world during the Victorian era. Like his more famous contemporary, Charles Spurgeon, Winslow was famous for his experiential Calvinism that in many ways embodied the older puritan spiritual tradition. Winslow also had one of the more interesting spiritual pilgrimages of his era. After pastoring several prominent Baptist churches, including a congregation he established in the English city of Bath, Winslow left the Baptist tradition and became an Anglican priest. You might say he evolved from a Spurgeon sort of Baptist into a J. C. Ryle sort of Anglican.

Tanner Turley has recently published a fine study of Winslow’s preaching titled Heart to Heart: Octavius Winslow’s Experimental Preaching (Reformation Heritage, 2014). Tanner is a two-time Southeastern Seminary graduate who planted and now serves as lead pastor of Redemption Hill Church in Medford, Massachusetts. Heart to Heart is a revised version of Tanner’s excellent dissertation under preaching professors Danny Akin and Greg Heisler. I had the opportunity to read most of this material in dissertation form and am grateful that Tanner’s work—and Winslow’s life and thought—will gain a wider reading thanks to this book.

You can check out the table of contents below. You can also download the table of contents and introduction from the Reformation Heritage website. Thanks to Reformation Heritage for publishing this important book. We trust it will be a valuable resource for contemporary pastor-theologians who want to learn at the feet of an important historical role model.

Turley TOC



Recommended Preaching Books by Southeastern Faculty

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Yesterday, we inaugurated the Ed Young Sr. Chair of Preaching at Southeastern Seminary. Our president, Dr. Danny Akin, was installed into the Young Chair. Pastor Young, the chair’s namesake and senior pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Houston, was our guest preacher during the chapel service. Following the chapel service, Southeastern’s boards of trustees and visitors enjoyed a catered lunch and listened to President Akin interview Pastor Young about preaching, pastoral ministry, and the history of SEBTS (Pastor Young is an alum).

Southeastern Seminary is committed to the primacy of preaching. In fact, like all of our sister Southern Baptist seminaries, SEBTS emphasizes expositional preaching as the best manner of consistently feeding the flock from God’s Word. We have been blessed with some stellar preaching professors in recent years, many of whom have written helpful books on the art of preaching. What follows is my personal list of “greatest hits” by current and recent SEBTS preaching professors.

Daniel L. Akin, Stephen Rummage, and Bill Curtis, Engaging Exposition (B&H Academic, 2011).  This is an excellent expository preaching textbook by three men who teach preaching at SEBTS full-time (Akin) or adjunctively (Rummage, Curtis). Rummage, now senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, FL, was one of my preaching professors in seminary. Curtis, who earned his Ph.D. in preaching at SEBTS, is senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Florence, SC.

Tony Merida, Faithful Preaching: Declaring Scripture with Responsibility, Passion, and Authenticity (B&H Academic, 2009). This is another excellent expository preaching textbook. Merida, who occupies the Johnny Hunt Chair of Biblical Preaching at SEBTS, is also the lead pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC.

Daniel L. Akin, David L. Allen, and Ned L. Mathews, eds., Text-Driven Preaching: God’s Word at the Heart of Every Sermon (B&H Academic, 2010). This collection of essays includes contributions from some of the better-known expositors in the Southern Baptist Convention. Current and former SEBTS contributors include Akin, Ned Mathews, David Alan Black, Bill Bennett, and Jim Shaddix.

Greg Heisler, Spirit-Led Preaching: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Sermon Preparation and Delivery (B&H Books, 2007). Heisler was my other preaching professor in seminary. He continues to teach adjunctively at SEBTS, but he is now the senior pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, NC. This is not a true preaching textbook, but is an award-winning study on an important topic.

Wayne McDill, The 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching, 2nd ed. (B&H Academic, 2006). This was one of the core preaching textbooks that was used in my seminary classes. McDill, who is now retired from full-time faculty at SEBTS, is the dean of expository preaching professors in Southern Baptist life. He continues to teach for us part-time in our doctoral programs.

Wayne McDill, The Moment of Truth: A Guide to Effective Sermon Delivery (B&H Academic, 1999). This is a short, helpful book on an important practical topic. Too many pastors are Superman in the study, but Clark Kent in the pulpit. This book is written to help remedy this all-too-common situation.

Stephen Rummage, Planning Your Preaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Developing a One-Year Preaching Calendar (Kregel Academic, 2002). This is one of the most practically useful books I have ever read on preaching, written by one of my favorite preachers in the Southern Baptist Convention. This book needs to be on every pastor’s shelf.

Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix, Power in the Pulpit: How to Prepare and Deliver Expository Sermons, new ed. (Moody, 1999). Okay, I admit it—Jerry Vines does not teach preaching at Southeastern Seminary. And that is truly a shame. But current SEBTS preaching professor Jim Shaddix helped Vines revise this new edition to the latter’s classic work from the 1980s. Highly recommended.

Jim Shaddix, The Passion-Driven Sermon: Changing the Way Pastors Preach and Congregations Listen (B&H Academic, 2003). This is not so much a traditional preaching textbook as it is a helpful supplemental book for pastors. Written by a master preacher and disciple-maker. Shaddix teaches preaching at SEBTS and serves as pastor of teaching and training at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL.

I doubt there is a better place to come and study expository preaching than Southeastern Seminary. For those of you who are seasoned pastors who might be considering doctoral work in expository preaching, I would highly encourage you to check out our D.Min. and Ph.D. programs in preaching, both of which are offered in a modified residency format. You can study with most of the men who authored the books listed above, as well as other excellent scholar-preachers on the SEBTS faculty and beyond.