Friday, November 08, 2013

Book Review of Dem Dry Bones by Luke Powery

Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death and Hope
by Luke Powery
ISBN 978-0-8006-9822-5
Fortress Press
157 pages
Reviewed by Clint Walker

Wow! This is a wonderful book on preaching that needs to find its way to the bookshelves of preachers and teachers in the church all over. Dem Dry Bones is wise, well-researched, and well-written book that takes on prosperity gospel as the heresy that it is, and rightly roots Christian preaching in a theology of the cross.

Luke Powery grounds Christian preaching in the experience of death, pain, and suffering. He uses the imagery of Ezekiel 37 as its grounding text. Then, Powery draws from the African-American church tradition of singing spirituals as "musical sermons" and lived theology. In doing so, he clearly demonstrates that the redemption and hope spoken of through the spirituals is central to the gospel message, or as he says, "suffering is a part of the gospel truth" (p.10).

What I find fascinating about this book is how it commends the wisdom and spiritual resources of the African-American church experience to the Christian church in its entirety through the tradition of African-American singing and preaching. Dem Dry Bones shows that suffering transformed, and both acknowledgment of the dark powers of suffering and death, as well the hope that comes from confronting them through the resurrection power of Christ, is standard of Christian preaching and the Christian experience as a whole. And no group of Christians does a better job at communicating the redemptive power of suffering than the traditional Black Church.

Christian preachers, buy this book! You will not regret it!

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