Book Review – Reflections
Proclaiming the Truth: Guides to Scriptural Preaching
When one has the opportunity for new learning, there should be a time of reflection on what wisdom one can obtain from that learning. The book, Proclaiming the Truth: Guides to Scriptural Preaching written by the author Donald E. Demaray, has vital information to help the preacher hone his skills. As one reflects on this book, an individual can gain insight into the author’s purpose for writing the book and how the book challenges one’s thinking. Reflections on the strengths and the weaknesses of this book can be gained as well.
The book, Proclaiming the Truth: Guides to Scriptural Preaching, by author Donald E. Demaray (2001), was written to impress upon the preacher the importance of preaching. “Yet here’s the problem: we tend not to take preaching seriously.” (p. xiii) Demaray addresses four areas of challenge for the preacher. “We face, then, four areas of challenge: (a) homiletics, (b) linguistics, (c) tonetics, and (d) kinesics (body language).” (Demaray, p. 2)
This book encourages the reader to take serious the call to preach and one area of importance is making sure the message is a “biblically” and “credally” centered message. “Our secular culture conditions us to do ‘nice’ sermons that make people feel good but allow them to continue living in their sins. Authentic biblical preaching changes lives.” (Demaray, p. 25) When the author writes about creed, he wants the reader to understand that the official creeds of the church provide the preacher with methods of interpretations of the scripture.
Demaray in this book also expresses the important of preaching containing both the preaching and the teaching. He confirms this when he states,
“…the most needed in our western culture has to do with Didache, teaching. Our people must learn the Bible and absorb its ethical implications for Christian living. When we teach the Bible our people can advance in spiritual formation and move into serious discipleship. The bottom line: Every sermon must teach.” (Demaray, p. 30)
One final point from this book that is vital for learning is the importance of the preacher to become a continual learner and character builder. “The preacher must be a continuing learner. Herein we confront two laws: The first, giving out requires taking in…The second law is this: the excited learner communicates.” (Demaray, p. 31) As a preacher learns more, he also grows in his understanding that this is God’s mission and he is only one of the tools used for that purpose.
I did not personally find any weaknesses in this book. I did however find it very strong in encouraging the preacher to understand whose authority one stands in. The preacher is encouraged to learn, to communicate clearly and use proper preparation for bringing the word of God before the people. The preacher is also admonished to ensure their listeners are learning more about the word of God with each message to help the people be equipped to be disciples for Christ. The final quote from this book that I find sums it up is,
“The Bible provides authority to and through God’s preachers in the context of genuine faith. With the authority of God’s Word the preacher speaks a confident, and therefore belief-building word; that word bears fruit in transformed lives. Moreover, God communicates himself in the exposition of his Word, and therein lies the grand goal of preaching.” (Demaray, p. 84)
Demaray, Donald E. (2001). Proclaiming the Truth: Guides to Scriptural Preaching. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Publishing House.