Preaching: Communicating Faith in a Skeptical Age
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Preaching: Communicating Faith in a Skeptical Age

Dutton / 2015 / Hardcover

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Product Description

An accessible and pracitical guide for clearly communicating the gospel, no matter the context

Many pastors and laypeople struggle to share the gospel in a fresh, meaningful way. How can we communicate our faith from the pulpit and in the coffee shop? Known for his down-to-earth sermons and biblical insights, Tim Keller shows how to pique seekers' interest, steer them toward Christ, and help them apply Scripture to their lives.

Most Christians - including pastors - struggle to talk about their faith in a way that applies the power of the Christian gospel to change people's lives. Tim Keller is known for his insightful, down-to-earth sermons and talks that help people understand themselves, encounter Jesus, and apply the Bible to their lives. In Preaching, a guide for pastors and laypeople alike, Keller helps readers learn to present the Christian message of grace in a more engaging, passionate, and compassionate way.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Dutton
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 7.25 X 5.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0525953035
ISBN-13: 9780525953036

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Author Bio

TIMOTHY KELLER was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has more than six thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start more than two hundred and fifty new churches around the world. Also the author of Prayer, Encounters with Jesus, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Every Good Endeavor, The Meaning of Marriage, Generous Justice, Counterfeit Gods, The Prodigal God, Jesus the King, and The Reason for God, Timothy Keller lives in New York City with his family.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Preaching

"Superb . . . we should be grateful to Keller for his wisdom, scholarship, and humility."
-The Gospel Coalition
"If you want to see ’between the lines’ and just ’below the surface’ of our cultural moment and societal ethos . . . Which is to say, if you are any kind of Christian leader, teacher, writer, blogger, public thinker, politician, artist, media person, campus minister, youth leader, parent, Christian educator, spiritual director, or anyone with influence . . . then this is going to be exceptionally helpful for you."
-Byron Borger

Praise for 

"...Keller provides a contextually rich guide and companion to prayer."

"...if you follow Keller into the arsenal, you will be powerfully equipped to overcome the world/flesh/Devil and see your prayers for kingdom advance answered by almighty God. And if you follow Keller to the banqueting table, you will increasingly feast on new and old treasures of awe and intimacy with your heavenly Father."
-The Gospel Coalition

Praise for Encounters with Jesus

"Keller’s work belongs on the bookshelf of every serious Bible student. It is not a quick read, but, instead should be savored like fine wine, one sip at a time to glean the full impact of his life-changing message."

Praise for Timothy Keller and his books:

"Tim Keller's ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him." 
-Billy Graham

"Unlike most suburban megachurches, much of Redeemer is remarkably traditional. What is not traditional is Dr. Keller’s skill in speaking the language of his urbane audience…Observing Dr. Keller’s professorial pose on stage, it is easy to understand his appeal." 
-The New York Times

"Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians."
-Christianity Today Magazine

"With intellectual, brimstone-free sermons that manage to cite Woody Allen alongside Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Keller draws some 5,000 young followers every Sunday. Church leaders see him as a model of how to evangelize urban centers across the country, and Keller has helped ’plant’ 50 gospel-based Christian churches around New York plus another 50 from San Francisco to London." 
-New York Magazine

"Keller’s work belongs on the bookshelf of every serious Bible student. It is not a quick read, but, instead should be savored like fine wine, one sip at a time to glean the full impact of his life-changing message." on Encounters with Jesus

"It has something for everyone—something for the agnostic (Keller makes a strong argument that there are no true atheists); something for the philosopher (although he invites the wounded reader to skip that section); and something for the believer being beckoned into the inner sanctum of sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings (a place no one naturally wants to go)."
-The Gospel Coalition on Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

"It is a resource that takes a multidimensional approach to suffering - tackling the internal and external realities - and takes us deep theologically and practically."
-Vertical Living Ministries on Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

"A luminous and ultimately hopeful examination of the many aspects of suffering."
-Booklist on Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

"Theologically rich and philosophically informed, yet accessible and filled with practical wisdom."
-Cardus on Every Good Endeavor

"This book is for us all and through its reading it can change and reshape your entire outlook on your life."
-SarahMac on Every Good Endeavor

"It’s a great resource to equip you to speak with your secular friends; to show them why the Christian understanding of marriage is not only a tremendous blessing, it’s the only one that works." on The Meaning of Marriage

"The Meaning of Marriage is incredibly rich with wisdom and insight that will leave the reader, whether single or married, feeling uplifted. While the book is filled with expertly selected biblical verses, nonreligious readers willing to ’try on’ these observations may find answers not only to the meaning of marriage but to that even bigger question—the meaning of life itself."
-The Washington Times on The Meaning of Marriage

"This is the book I give to all my friends who are serious spiritual seekers or skeptics."
-Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, on The Reason for God

"Keller mines material from literary classics, philosophy, anthropology and a multitude of other disciplines to make an intellectually compelling case for God. Written for skeptics and the believers who love them, the book draws on the author's encounters as founding pastor of New York's booming Redeemer Presbyterian Church…[The Reason for God] should serve both as testimony to the author's encyclopedic learning and as a compelling overview of the current debate on faith for those who doubt and for those who want to reevaluate what they believe, and why." 
-Publishers Weekly on The Reason for God

"World has briefly reviewed about 200 books over the past year. Many stand out, but one in particular is likely to change many lives and ways of thinking. World’s Book of the Year is Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. "
-Marvin Olasky on The Reason for God

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  1. Kerry
    Crosby, TX
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Compellingly Outlines a Relevant Christ-Centered Approach to Preaching
    September 9, 2016
    Crosby, TX
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was originally posted on

    Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by pastor Timothy Keller is not so much a how to guide to Christian preaching as an exploration of the why and what of preaching. In other words, Kellers answer to the question What is good preaching? is almost exclusively focused on the content of preaching rather than on its structure or rhetoric, and this, I think, is why I find this book so satisfying, stimulating, and challenging.

    For preaching to be good preaching, Keller says, three things must happen, and these three things dictate the structure of the book. First, the preacher must serve the Word by preaching the text clearly and preaching the gospel every time. Second, the preacher must reach the people by preaching to the culture and to the heart. The third thing is something only God can do: He brings the Word home to our hearers through the demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Corinthians 2:4). All of these things happen, Keller says, when we preach Christ. So good preaching ultimately must always point to Christ, though exactly what that means is perhaps more flexible than it might sound.

    The first section is dedicated to the first element of good preaching: Serving the Word. In three chapters, Kellers main points are that all preaching must be grounded in the text of the Bible, regardless of its structuring logic. His purpose isnt to make a sustained argument for expository preaching versus thematic preaching. Rather, he says that different kinds of sermons all have their place, though expository preaching ought to have a place of priority. But regardless of what kind of sermon a preacher is preaching, it must teach the Bible. In order to teach the Bible, a preacher must do two other things. First, he should preach Christ every time. A passage may seem remote from Jesus, and, indeed, a sermon inject Christ artificially, but if Jesus is who we say he is, that is the eternal Logos, then all of the Bible, if it is indeed Gods special revelation, must by definition somehow point to Christ. The task of the preacher is to find that genuine route to Christ. The second part of teaching the Bible is to teach the whole Bible. Keller suggests several ways to do this, including Preach Christ Through Every Theme of the Bible, Preach Christ in Every Major Figure of the Bible, and Preach Christ from Every Major Image in the Bible. Ultimately, Keller says, it is important not to be too rigid in our path to Christ, but to rely on instinct and intuition in finding Christ in our text. The important thing is to find that genuine path to Christ.

    I really appreciated Kellers position both on what constituted biblical preaching and on preaching Christ in every passage. I am one who desires deep biblical investigation in every sermon, but I know from personal experience that expository preaching that is little more than a verse-by-verse commentary tends to wander from topic to topic and often fails to really connect with its hearers. The solution to non-biblically based topical self-help sermons isnt necessarily straight expository preaching. Rather, topical sermons can actually be deeply grounded in Bible exposition, and in fact the best sermons Ive ever heard have been just that. I am also the kind of person who wants fidelity to the text in preaching. In other words, Im perfectly happy to hear about Jesus, but dont tell me that verse X is about Jesus when it only appears to talk about Jesus when taken out of context. But I am happy to go along with Kellers more nuanced approach to finding a genuine approach to Christ in every part of the Bible, because it is consistent with various strands of New Testament high Christology.

    The second part was originally the most interesting to me: Reaching the People. Again consisting of three chapters, in this section Keller describes an approach to preaching that confronts contemporary culture without being unduly shaped by it. The problem with some ideas about contextualizing the gospel is that they render Christian theology entirely reactive: the world becomes the defining reality, the Church must adapt to provide an answer for whatever question the world may be asking at that moment. But the fact is that the world isnt simply finding the wrong answers, its actually asking the wrong questions. So when we confront the culture, we dont merely present Jesus as the answer to the worlds problems, we actually present Jesus as an entirely different reality that exists in competition with the world.

    On the other hand, if we dont contextualize the gospel at all, we run the risk of taking a presentation of the gospel that effectively confronted a particular time and place in the past and assuming that it effectively confronts the here and now. In other words, if we preach in a way that confronts minds fundamentally in agreement with Enlightenment principles (or, worse, in a way that assumes Enlightenment principles), we will find that our presentation of the gospel does not effectively confront our postmodern culture.

    What does this mean practically? It means that we must take post/late modern concerns seriously without capitulating to them. We acknowledge rational objections to our gospel assertions and we address them with honesty and kindness but also with a firm commitment to the objective truth of the gospel. We use accessible and well explained vocabulary rather than undefined jargon. In a manner like Paul on Mars Hill, we employ respected cultural authorities in support of our position. It means we must be able to perceive the baseline narratives of our culture and understand how the gospel of Jesus stands in opposition to those narratives. Chapter five, in particular, is helpful in identifying these baseline narratives and demonstrating how one confronts them in preaching.

    Reaching the people means that we are preaching not just to the mind, but to the heart, and this is the subject of chapter six. Preaching to the heart involves preaching on both an emotional and intellectual level (without creating an artificial distinction between these two realms). It involves preaching with emotion and imagination, using good rhetorical techniques and memorable language, and making sure to apply the message of the sermon to real life. Keller has several useful suggestions for how to cultivate the ability to preach to the heart.

    In the last chapter of the main part of the book, Keller turns his attention the work of the Spirit in empowering the preacher. He talks about how we can invite the Spirits work in our preaching, and he suggests that the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is far more important in the effectiveness of our preaching than whether or not we are naturally dynamic public speakers. He addresses a preachers different potential subtexts for preaching and urges his readers to let their motivation be only to exalt Christ. Finally, while the book is not intended to be a how to, an appendix includes Kellers suggested method for writing expository messages.

    In short, Preaching by Timothy Keller is a quick but powerful read that contains many important and useful observations about what constitutes good preaching, focusing largely on preachings content, motivation, and posture towards the culture rather than on the nuts and bolts of sermon construction. As always with anything Keller writes, I found myself challenged, encouraged, and generally convinced, and that is about the best thing I can say of any book.
  2. Dave
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Preaching tools
    March 17, 2016
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This book can be used as a great tool to hell any preacher to prepare a great sermon
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