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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Holy Spirit Absent?

What does the Spirit’s absence from the definitions of preaching reveal to us?

First, I believe it shows just how post-theological preaching has become.

Contemporary preaching begins with the audience instead of God, and as a result preaching has become the trade of communicators, not pastor-theologians. Many preaching books, Web sites, and preaching blogs focus heavily on the pragmatic side of preaching by emphasizing techniques, tips, mechanics, and the how-to approach to preaching.

Don’t get me wrong; we need to learn the pragmatic side of preaching because the techniques and mechanical elements of preaching do help us to become better preachers. My concern is that often these books, Web sites, and blogs tell only half the story of what preaching is all about.

We need to know how to put a sermon together, but before we tackle the how-tos, let’s first learn the “why-do” by establishing the theological foundation and spiritual dynamic of preaching.

Put another way, sound mechanics must be complemented by spiritual dynamics lest we end up with a Rolls Royce sermon that looks great on paper but has no gas in the tank to give it any power.

In Spirit-Led Preaching I am calling for a more holistic and theologically driven approach to preaching that by definition and design incorporates the dynamic Spirit of God ministering the living Word of God through the Spirit-empowered man of God.

The Spirit adds the homiletic gas to the preacher’s tank, empowering the sermon and ensuring that our preaching goes someplace!

Greg Heisler, Spirit-Led Preaching: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Sermon Preparation and Delivery (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2007), 11–12.

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