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The Priority of Preaching by Christopher Ash

Why do we have preachers? Is preaching important? Why should I subject myself to preaching? If you have ever asked these questions, you should read this book.

Why do I preach? Are they really listening? How much of our service should be dedicated to preaching? If you have ever asked these questions, you should read this book.

In the introduction to his book, The Priority of Preaching, Christopher Ash states, “My task is to persuade (or at least unsettle) those doubtful about preaching, and to deepen the conviction of those already converted to the priority of preaching.” He writes with the aim of encouraging “ordinary ministers who preach regularly to ordinary people in ordinary places, who may dream of being world-renowned but are going to be spared that fate.” Though this book is written directly to preachers, it’s message can be applied to those who sit in the pew and listen from week to week.

This short but power-packed book is presented in three chapters. The author’s choice of proof text is taken from the book of Deuteronomy and is the perfect choice because it deals with God’s word communicated by God’s prophet to God’s covenant people.

Chapter one addresses The Authority of the Preached Word. In this chapter, Ash builds the case that the preacher, like the prophet in the Old Testament, is representing God to his people by proclaiming God’s word. God has chosen to reveal himself in the written word and he has also chosen to speak to the hearts of his people through the prophetic utterance of his servants. These servants have authority but it is borrowed authority given to them by God.

Chapter two is focused on Preaching that Transforms the Church. Ash argues for preaching that “grips” the hearts of the hearers. He points out four themes: the reality of God, the stubbornness of people, the urgency of faith and the wonder of grace. These four things should cause the preacher to passionately and confidently proclaim God’s word to his people.

Chapter three builds on the other two in Preaching that Mends a Broken World. We know our world is broken. We long to make a difference. How can this be done? Ash demonstrates that the Assembly is “called together by and under the word of God.” As an assembly, we have a reason for gathering. When we gather, God’s grace transforms us. In the power of  God, we go out and reach the world with the gospel of God’s grace.

The book ends with a helpful appendix entitled: Give God the Microphone! Seven Blessings of Consecutive Expository Preaching. If you are convinced of the value of expository preaching, this will serve as affirmation. If you are more inclined to topical preaching, this will give you good food for thought.

I was greatly encouraged by this book. In an age when we have replaced the preacher with psychologists, life-coaches and small-group leaders, this book serves as a corrective, bringing us back to God’s plan for his people. I recommend that this be required reading for anyone pursuing the call to preach.

This book was graciously provided to me by Christian Focus for the purpose of review.

  • Paperback: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Focus
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845504649
Categories: Christian Focus, Reviews
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  1. January 27, 2012 at 7:05 am

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