Skip to main content

Preaching by Ear: Speaking God's Truth from the Inside Out





Preaching by Ear: Speaking God’s Truth from the Inside Out by Dave McClellan with Karen McClellan

Pastor Dave McClellan offers his readers a trip through oral preaching in his new book Preaching by the Ear.  No, oral preaching is not preaching without notes but, “speaking from personally held, deep convictions in a way that enables our words to unfold in the moment by considering the actual people present with us.  We are well-prepared, but we’re not certain exactly how it will come out of our mouths” (5).  This type of preaching is risky business indeed, but it offers the preacher and audience an opportunity to hear a less contrived and more vulnerable message.

One of the fascinating points Dave makes at the beginning of the book concerns eloquence.  He writes, “A good preacher, he said, (referring to Augustine), will not be consumed with looking eloquent or sounding eloquent.  The good preacher is consumed with the truth of the message, which fuels a sort of unschooled or natural eloquence that is self-forgetful” (14-15).  In other words, the preacher doesn’t aim for eloquence but this comes as a by-product of him being immersed in the message, not by seeking to structure a message just right.  Seeking to be eloquent out of self-interest limits the opportunity for the preacher to be vulnerable and come to the same page as the audience.  Dave admits that we will never completely rid ourselves of self-interest but being aware of doing a good thing with a bad motive is part of the first step.

Dave also shapes his thinking on oral preaching around the ministry of Jesus.  After surveying Jesus’ itinerant ministry, Dave writes, “Jesus envisioned their ministry as oral (the disciples).  He advocated not an unbridled, purely expressive orality, but one dependent upon divine guidance, even the guidance of the promised Spirit who will “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13)” (79).  The disciples were never commissioned or sent off to write all their messages down but to speak words of blessing, greeting, judgment, and God’s loving character in Jesus Christ.  This divine guidance given by the Holy Spirit elicited times of orally proclaiming stories that spoke of God’s character but also times where more pointed didactic lessons were in view (Acts 17 is one example).  Paul, for one, studied hard to understand both Greek and Jewish culture, but also spoke unscripted as well.

Overall, this book was a challenge to read because I am so drawn to my sermon manuscript at times that I lose connection with the people.  With the right dose of wisdom, Dave makes a compelling case for oral preaching.

Thanks to Weaver Book Company and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…