Letters to My Students-Volume 1-On Preaching by Jason K. Allen: a Book Review
I love preaching. I think there is always more to learn in regards to it. I also love Charles Spurgeon, who is known as the Prince of Preachers. This is why I'm excited about Jason K. Allen's new book, Letters to My Students Vol. 1, On Preaching. Allen has written a book about preaching in the format of Charles Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. He says, "Thus, this volume—and entire series—is written in the venerable tradition of Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students. I know how much he helped me, and I want similarly to help you" (xvii).
Jason K. Allen is the president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. He also serves as an associate professor for preaching and pastoral ministry. He is the author or editor of several books, including The SBC and the 21st Century, Discerning Your Call to Ministry, Being a Christian, and Portraits of a Pastor. He hosts a weekly podcast called, "Preaching and Preachers." He and his wife, Karen, have five children and are both from Mobile, Alabama.
Dr. Allen has written a great manual for preachers at every stage. In it you will find sections on preparing to be a preacher, preparing your sermon, and growing in your preaching. This means whether you’re still considering a calling or are a seasoned pastor, there is something here for you.
I especially enjoyed Dr Allen’s chapters on calling and when to engage cultural concerns. As someone who wrestled with a calling, I think many will find his chapter on calling helpful. I wish I had been able to read it when I was searching. He says, "Christ does not hope for ministerial volunteers; He sovereignly sets apart pastors to serve His church and to preach His gospel. Perhaps you are one of them" (4). Whether you are or aren’t one of them, I think this chapter will provide you some clarity.
Chapter 15 on when to engage cultural concerns is a prime example of why it is helpful to read new books on preaching and not just older ones. In this chapter, Dr. Allen helps the reader think through what merits interrupting an exegetical preaching schedule in order to do a topic-based sermon. Dr. Allen mentions relevant topics still facing our culture and helps us think through these things. I really found the application and cultural relevancy of this chapter helpful and his "nine questions to ask" that are found in the chapter were great to think through.
Dr. Allen gives the reader an excellent, modern work on preaching. As preachers, we all need our fire stoked at times and this work certainly accomplishes that. Dr. Allen says, "I know of no better way to evaluate my spiritual and ministry vitality than how passionate I am about the gospel" (163). May this work on preaching increase our passion for the gospel.
You can pick up your copy of Letters to My Students Vol. 1, On Preaching on Amazon.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from bhbloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.