Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Book Review of Give Them Christ by Stephan Seamands
Give Them Christ: Preaching His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Return
by Stephan Seamands
Reviewed by Clint Walker
In my observation, much of preaching today either focuses on digging into a certain passage in order to communicate what that passage was saying, and now says to us today, or topical preaching designed to give helpful hints to people on how to live their lives as a believer in God and a follower of Jesus. Lately, preachers have rejected a rich tradition of theological preaching. Give Them Christ is a corrective to this error, calling pastors to a kerygmatic model of preaching.
As I was reading at this book, I was also teaching through the Heidelberg Catechism. The Heidelberg, like many other Reformed Catechisms, makes an effort to teach through the Apostle's Creed. Thus, as I read this book I found insight on not just what the Apostle's Creed was saying, but how to preach what is happening in the Apostle's Creed to a congregation who needs theological depth. I plan on resourcing this book next year during the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle and the Lent-Easter-Ascension-Pentecost cycle of the Christian year. It will remind me of insights I have gained, and will infuse my preaching with theological depth.
For those seeking something technical, this is not it. What Seamands does offer in this book is some time-tested ways of communicating doctrine in a way that people can understand. He also challenges preachers to give clear instructions about what people need to hear.
Too often in churches, we as pastors have neglected teaching the theological foundations of the faith. Give Them Christ is a needed corrective, challenging pastors to help people understand God through communicating sound doctrine.