Preaching with Accuracy by Randal E. Pelton
There is an overarching tendency in preaching to focus our entire sermons on one minor caveat in the biblical text that is not the big idea. Focusing on the minors really does a disservice to our listeners because often it draws them away from the text to our own opinions. Randal E. Pelton seeks to dismantle this focus on the minor issues of a text in his new book, Preaching with Accuracy. In the introduction, he alerts readers to the course of his book, such that finding Christ- centered big ideas is not only possible but necessary for truly good preaching.
In the section on Cutting the Text, Randal helpfully gives us some key markers for identifying a text in preaching. He commends us to identify the context that precedes if we are preaching in the middle of a story, also he asks us to notice the genre of a text (narrative, parable, poetry, etc.). In identifying the big idea of the text, Randal calls attention to the main storyline of the passage (conflict, climax, resolution), any questions that the text addresses, and the main verbs and action points of the text. By locating the broad subject we are able to narrow down our focus on the main textual point of the sermon.
In the canonical context, Randal helps us see the redemptive-historical context of a passage as well as how the NT fulfills the OT and how NT writers adjust and apply the OT for their focus on the coming of Christ. Pelton moves us away from a kind of moralistic preaching that involves exegesis and moral exhortation but leaves out Keller’s notion that it is in recognizing our failure to follow through on God’s commands that we can look to Christ for his work and our hope. Why does this matter? For one, in our own efforts, by preaching a moralism message, we put the stress of obedience solely upon our shoulders, failing to give our hearers the good news of the gospel each week.
I think this book would be great in a preaching class or read by those who are preaching on a regular basis to enhance and focus their sermons on the big idea of a text and on the person of Jesus Christ.
Thanks to Kregel Ministry for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.