THE PRIORITY OF PREACHING – Christopher Ash (2009)

Christopher Ash has a simple goal in his book, The Priority of Preaching.  He seeks to encouraged pastors.

Ash begins by stressing the authority of the preached word.  The thesis utilizes the book of Deuteronomy: “We must listen to the voice of the Christian preacher because he is the prophet in our generation as Moses was in his.”

The author maintains the church has a submission problem.  The church has gotten very good a discussing biblical truth but often suffers from an inability to submit to the Bible.  Indeed, “submission is not the same as discussion.  Discussion is comfortably in line with the spirit of the age.”  So in light of biblical authority, pastors must preach with authority and we must all listen with a submissive spirit.

The second section discusses preaching that transforms the church.  Ash admonishes pastors to boldly preach about the reality of God; the God who is transcendent and holy.  “Preaching that engages with culture will press home on people that reality is on our side.  We are not canvassing their vote, but pleading with them to live in line with how the world is … The only way to have reality on our side is to have him on our side, which is what the gospel offers.”

Ash reminds readers that all people are stubborn and uses Moses as an illustration of one who constantly faced stubborn listeners.  Pastors, then, must engage in “silent dialogue”  where questions are being raised and answered between the pastor and the people.

Pastors must preach with passion, with a holy gravitas.  “The urgency of faith means we need to preach with urgent passionate clarity, clear urgent passion, and passionate clear urgency.”

Pastors must confidently offer Christ to their hearers.  “Given that Jesus says Moses spoke of him, it seems that Moses was, in principle, offering them Christ.  That is to say, he was calling them to believe the God of promise.”

The author includes a helpful appendix that stresses seven blessings of expository preaching.

The Priority of Preaching is not a “how to” book.  Rather, it is a sober reminder to preach the Word.

3 stars

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