04 May Nelson’s Preacher’s Sourcebook – Book Review
Nelson’s Preacher’s Sourcebook:
Kent Spann and David Wheeler (eds)
Thomas Nelson, 2010
526 pages, $24.99, paper
Reviewed by Rock LaGioia
Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies
Director, Doctor of Ministry Program
Grace College and Seminary
The preacher’s constant companion is the relentless approach of next Sunday’s sermon. Seasoned preachers Kent Spann and David Wheeler know from experience that preaching is a daunting responsibility.
No less than thirty-six teachers and preachers contribute to this Sourcebook. Some of the better-known contributors are John A. Broadus, Jonathan Edwards, Gary Habermas, Robert G. Lee, Calvin Miller, Charles H. Spurgeon and Jerry Vines. The editors lay out a convincing case for the advantages of preaching in series. Series topics include the Book of Joshua, a study of Ephesians, important Old Testament characters and Jesus Christ, apologetics, the Ten Commandments, the life of David, prayer, classic preachers and Advent.
As might be expected from such a large Sourcebook, the sermons vary in structure, style and quality. For example, sermon titles range from the clever: “No Chance” (the sermon’s introduction refers to the evolutionary teaching that humans are a product of chance); the arresting: “Sex, Lies, and Sin’s Red Tape!” and the straight forward: “Connecting Through Apologetics.”
Some sermon introductions are not particularly compelling: “Ask someone if he or she has ever heard the words ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,’ and you will probably get an affirmative answer. The person will likely even know that the statement is found in the opening sentence of the Bible. This most famous of all Bible verses is found, of course, in the book of Genesis” (p. 150).
Other sermon introductions secure attention instantly: “A guy was in his swimming pool, relaxing on a float, when another guy walked up and said, ‘There you are, lying around in the lap of luxury, while thousands of people around the world are suffering.’ The fellow lying on the float looked at the guy and said, ‘Name one of them’” (p. 131).