Pew Rights: For People Who Listen to Sermons

Written by Roger E. van Harm Reviewed By Craig L. Blomberg

In our age of civil and private rights movements, it should probably not surprise that a homiletics text would have this provocative title. Despite the potentially misleading tone of the title, however, the book is directed to preachers, with 12 helpful chapters which each unpack a particularly crucial principle of effective biblical exposition. Paraphrasing van Harn’s often catchier but less immediately descriptive phrasing, sermons should (1) form a central focus of the church’s mission; (2) reflect the thoughts of one who has first carefully listened to the text; (3) address our deepest needs; (4) set the passage in the larger context of the biblical story; (5) interpret it in light of its relevant historical background; (6) re-present the actual details and structure of the passage; (7) help us understand church history better; (8) be applied to the contemporary culture; (9) critique the contemporary church; 10) present the intended application of the original author; (11) address Christians and non-Christians alike; and (12) invite follow-up critique and response. Few of these thoughts are new or revolutionary but they remain sadly lacking in much evangelical preaching. The short compass and readability of this book combine with this lack to make the volume a needed addition to the literature in the field.

Craig L. Blomberg

Craig L. Blomberg
Denver Seminary
Denver, Colorado, USA