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Biblical Preaching: The Development and…
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Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages

by Haddon W. Robinson

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You can read my full review at Quieted Waters.

Dr. Haddon Robinson is a wonderful writer, as shown in Biblical Preaching, but he is also a gifted pastor and the embodiment of humble love.

When I visited Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2008, I was privileged to have two meals at a table with Dr. Robinson (who was serving as Interim President at the time), and both times I marveled at his unassuming compassion for everyone, although he had only just met each of us. The first meal, a breakfast, I sat down at the only occupied table in the dining hall, and he happened to be one of those seated. I had never met the man, so I did not know who he was until later. But the entire meal, I was amazed by how warm, welcoming, and interesting he was. ( )
  QuietedWaters | May 22, 2013 |
This is a book that I used for Bethany Divinity College and seminary. It has 10 chapters with the titles as follows: the case for expository preaching, what's the big idea, tools of the trade, the road from text to sermon, the power of purpose, the shapes sermons take, making dry bones live, start with a bank and quit all over, the dress of thought, and the last chapter, chapter 10 is titled "how to preach so people will listen."
  EnriquetheBaptist | May 17, 2013 |
In Biblical Preaching, Haddon Robinson (Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) lays out a process to assist preachers in the development of their sermons. Even at the time of it’s original publication, Robinson recognized a trend moving away from the importance of the sermon in the life of the church. Despite this trend, he states that, “no one who takes the Bible seriously should count preaching out” (19).

In light of this conviction, Robinson begins by presenting a case for expository preaching, defining this as:

“the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher, applies to the hearers” (21).

Within the first few chapters, the reader quickly dicerns that Robinson is significantly less interested in the actual words of the text, but is rather infatuated instead with concepts and ideas. He infers as much early in the first chapter, writing, “Some conservative preachers have been led astray by their doctrine of inspiration,” which results in an overemphasis in the words, which, “are stupid things until linked with other words to convey meaning” (23). Robinson prefers sermons that convey a Biblical idea or concept derived from the text of Scripture, rather than sermons that teach the text itself. (This objection will be further developed in the following section.)

His entire approach to the preparation and delivery of a sermon is built upon the notion of a central idea or concept. Once the preacher secures a text to preach from, they are to discover the central concept of the text through study. Robinson teaches the major components of the text in terms of subject-complement. A subject is, “the complete, definite answer to the question, ‘What am I talking about?’” (41). The complement, “completes the subject by answering the question, ‘What am I saying about what I am talking about?’” (41). This construction presents a complete idea, and each supporting point provides a sub-point for the preacher’s outline.

With an outline in place, Robinson recommends that preachers either prepare a thorough manuscript for each sermon, or in the least write out the introduction, conclusion, and transitions between major sermon points. Robinson is emphatic, however, that preachers should not read these manuscripts. The purpose of manuscripting is to force the preacher to think through these pivotal moments in the sermon, searching for the ideal turn of phrase, rather than preaching disjointedly from an outline (185-186).
Critique

As noted at the onset, Robinson’s application of the doctrine of inspiration leaves much to be desired by those who value the words of Scripture. Robinson, himself, appears to waffle throughout the book, attesting to the authority of the Scriptures, then denying the importance of the very words breathed-out by the Holy Spirit. He goes so far as to state, “While an orthodox doctrine of inspiration may be a necessary plank in the evangelical platform on biblical authority, this sometimes gets in the way of expository preaching” (23). One can only pray that the casual manner in which Robinson treats the Scripture in his approach to preaching should be avoided by his students and readers.

Another point of concern arose in the preface to the second addition, where he writes, “I’ve also changed my language to reflect my theology. God doesn’t distribute his gifts by gender” (10). While his statement is true enough on the surface, the context in which he makes it can only mean that he has abandoned the conservative, Biblical teaching that preaching is the responsibility of qualified men as taught in 1 Timothy 2-3. However, this actually follows his earlier reasoning, for he clearly believes preachers should be qualified, but abandons the words of the text in search for the specific qualifications themselves.

Finally, one must note the audience that Robinson envisions for his students as they preach. For Robinson’s purposes, they are dull, uneducated, and disinterested in God’s Words or actions on behalf of fallen humanity. Therefore, the preacher must avoid using examples from Scripture to illustrate a biblical concept for fear that it they would not be understood by the congregation (155), and to always preach in such a way as to “secure some moral action,” (107) rather than declare to them what God has done on their behalf. The reader is left to ponder how different this book may have been written were Robinson to anticipate his students’ congregations to actually be regenerate.

Robinson’s book on expository preaching, titled, Biblical Preaching, fails to deliver on either point. Upon further examination, it teaches preaching that is neither biblical, nor expository.
  David_Norman | Mar 8, 2013 |
Dr. Haddon Robinson's exceptional work on expository preaching is a must for all pastors. There is such a shortage of great preachers or at least great sermons, and Robinson's book helps develop solid, Biblical sermons. And he does so through engaging writing and witty anecdotes. Highly recommended for all preachers. ( )
  erikssonfamily | Mar 9, 2010 |
Any preaching book by Robinson is worth owning for the preacher and seminary student. This volume inparticular is used in many seminaries as their practical theology text book. ( )
  temsmail | Dec 28, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801022622, Hardcover)

An updated version of Robinson's best-selling textbook on preaching

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:37 -0400)

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