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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Book Review: The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching

I recently completed The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching: Connecting the Bible to People edited by Keith Willhite and Scott Gibson. This is an older book I found on a discount shelf and read through pretty quick. It is essentially a compliation of chapters by different authors all to honor Haddon Robinson, who is one of my favorite teachers. In Robinson’s book Biblical Preaching (a must read for all preachers), he puts forth an idea he calls “The Big Idea.” In short, the Big Idea is the one message the author of the text is communicating. With this concept, Robinson declares several things: we can truly know what a biblical text is communicating; every biblical text may have many applications but only one interpretation; when preaching a text, the pastor must bring out this meaning; and a host of other ideas. It is a revolutionary concept if one has not every thought in this manner before and in our post-modern society, there is a generation of people who have been taught that meaning resides in the reader and not in the text. Thus, Robinson’s principle of the Big Idea is a truly a big idea. Thus the title of the book of this review, The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching, is really a play on words about the concept found in Robinson’s book.

The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching declares the concept of the Big Idea as the best basis for preaching. It begins by revealing to the reader why it is the best way to preach. In short, the various authors say preaching with the Big Idea in mind helps the preacher keep sight of the one thought the biblical author is attempting to communicate with his audience. In doing this, the preacher can confidently declare, “thus saith the Lord.”

The next section of the book helps the bible student understand the Big Idea’s biblical and theological power. The authors do this by explaining how to find the Big Idea when navigating through the different genres of the Old and New Testament. The principles, examples, and outlines shared through this section were helpful and bring to light the importance of preaching what the text brings forth and not what one wants to make the text say.

The book concludes with some helpful chapters on how to communicate a message based on the concept of the Big Idea. They discuss issues like flow of thought, the use of illustrations in the message, and how preaching with passion makes a difference. Each of these topics are handled well and could be very useful to any preacher.

Overall, I think this book is a valuable encouragement for preachers even though it is a decade old. I also think that if one has not read it, Biblical Preaching should be read first. Biblical Preaching is a better “How To” book while The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching will help the bible student further refine the concept of the Big Idea and how to incorporate that into their sermons. It is also the kind of book that would be helpful to reread if one has not read it in a while. Useful to have on a pastor’s bookshelf.

2t22 Rating

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sing It Sister!

I am not sure who this it is or who her parents are but this little girl has apparently heard The Lord's Prayer sung several times. She does a great job for a 2 year old.

What a cutie!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Book Review: Submerged

Submerged, by Alton Gansky, is the third book in a series of stories about protagonist Perry Sachs, although I did not know this when I pick it up from the book store. Even though it was the third book, the author did a great job of brief character development so the reader would not feel like he or she missed anything by not reading the first two books. In this installment, Perry travels to Nevada in an adventure to save his dying father and solve a mystery from thirty years earlier.

The story has a feel which Area 51 conspiracy theorists would really enjoy. The characters related to each other well and their dialogue seems relatively believable. The banter between Jack and Gleason is particularly enjoyable. It creates an emotional attachment with these characters.

Essentially, in the early 1970’s, a group of scientists were brought to investigate an underground base which could not have been built by any government on the planet. Thirty years later, these same scientists begin to die by a strange illness. Perry’s father, who was one of those scientists, reveals a secret which begins Perry and his pack of buddies on an adventure that will bring more questions than they ever could have imagined. With the help of some Nevada deputies, and through some confrontation with mysterious military personnel, they experience a life-changing experience.

I really enjoyed the book and drilled through it a couple of days. The whole experience was fun but I did not care for the last chapter. The author attempts to explain what they saw through biblical “eyes” but instead produces, if true, a strange, strange, doctrine about the afterlife (I cannot reveal more than this without giving away the story). The author does have a note at the end of the book explaining that this is a fiction book and the theological points made by the characters are just that – theology by a fiction character.

The story may have been better if I had read the previous two stories about Perry Sachs, and that may have provided me with more investment in the characters. Nevertheless, it was fun and a fast read that can provide you with a nice break from whatever you want distracted from.

2t22 rating: