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Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today

by John R. W. Stott

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1,663710,421 (4.13)5
"Preaching is indispensable to Christianity." World-renowned preacher John Stott opens this book with those five bold words. He maintains, further, that "nothing is better calculated to restore health and vitality to the church than a recovery of true, biblical, contemporary preaching." Stott was aiming to foster such a recovery when he wrote Between Two Worlds, which has become a modern evangelical classic. The genius of this book is the way it synthesizes and distills Stott's wealth of wisdom on preaching, focusing not so much on technical matters but more on theological foundations and on necessary personal characteristics of the preacher--sincerity, earnestness, courage, and humility. Preachers old and new will continue to find much to chew on in these pages.… (more)
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Given to Matthew Hayes - 05/10/2023
  revbill1961 | May 10, 2023 |
The strengths of this book are both many and varied. Stott argues that 'preaching is indispensable to Christianity' and to the health of the Christian church. As the title suggests, Stott discribes the work of the preacher as one of bridge-building. Because of the distance and the complexities of the ancient/Biblical world, carefully planned bridges must be built for God's Word to be loudly related to those in the modern world. To do this, the preacher must be a student of each of these respective worlds. It is difficult for me to imagine that one could improve upon such a comprehensive treatment to the nature of the task of Christian preaching in few pages that Stott did. With hundreds of assorted quotes, Stott brings a remarkably wide range of reading to the table. Though the author made apology for the inclusion of so many quotes in the introduction (p 10) bibliophiles like me will ooze with envy and delight in the breadth of his reading. Though "Between Two Worlds" was not a preaching method, it provides the reader with a variety of bits of wisdom and antidotes from several humbling decades of preaching at All Souls' Church in London. Though given only cursory treatment, the author does not fail to acknowledge the role of rhetoric and communication in preaching and argues quite practically that all sermons should have a 'single point of persuasion.' Using his broad scope of reading, Stott uses many delightful quotations from sources likely to be unfamiliar to most readers, to make numerous practical suggestions for how to craft illustrations, introductions, and conclusions. These benefits are accompanied by a warm and humble, pastoral tone that encourages aspiring and current preachers to strive for excellence in the both the pulpit and the study. For this reason, I can eagerly recommend this book to anyone who aspires to speak the Word of God to His people. ( )
  nathan.c.moore | Oct 1, 2012 |
Stott's excellent and engaging book comes to climax in chapter 4: Preaching as Bridge-Building. In it, he attempts to articulate his conviction that preaching has two aspects – the exposition of the Bible, and communication, the application of Biblical truth to today's world. His metaphor is that of building a bridge from the Bible to the modern mind through preaching. He has much wise counsel here, and concludes with this sharp bit: bridge-building preaching “will be authoritative in expounding biblical principles, but tentative in applying them to the complex issues of the day.” 178. Having previously quoted an author who describes the fourfold task of the shepherd as feeding, guiding, guarding, and healing, it is easy to correlate exposition with feeding and guiding with application. A healthy balance between the two worlds keeps the preacher faithful and relevant. ( )
  cjsdg | Oct 20, 2011 |
Utilizing “bridge-building” as his central metaphor, Stott commissions the preacher to connect the first century text with the twenty-first century audience in such a way that is faithful to the former and relevant to the latter. While Stott’s treatment is very broad (stretching from the philosophical to the practical), he provides an outstanding introduction to the rationale and task of Biblical preaching. A ( )
  bsanner | Jul 20, 2008 |
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"Preaching is indispensable to Christianity." World-renowned preacher John Stott opens this book with those five bold words. He maintains, further, that "nothing is better calculated to restore health and vitality to the church than a recovery of true, biblical, contemporary preaching." Stott was aiming to foster such a recovery when he wrote Between Two Worlds, which has become a modern evangelical classic. The genius of this book is the way it synthesizes and distills Stott's wealth of wisdom on preaching, focusing not so much on technical matters but more on theological foundations and on necessary personal characteristics of the preacher--sincerity, earnestness, courage, and humility. Preachers old and new will continue to find much to chew on in these pages.

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