Written by LeRoy H. Aden and Robert G. Hughes Reviewed By Andrew Shudall

The trouble with this book is that it is more concerned with reaching hurting people than with the faithful proclamation of God’s Word. It is concerned with reaching the people who are suffering, grieving, ill, victims of violence, fearful and who have failed. In themselves, none of these people are outside the remit of the preacher who is preaching God’s Word. However, when the delivery of truth becomes subservient to the meeting of people’s needs those who seek to preach will find themselves in the realm of shallow therapy (making people feel better) rather than in the realm of communicating God’s Word. (That is, giving people an interpretive framework to understand and live within a fallen world which is rooted in and fed by God’s self-revelation in Scripture).

Aden and Hughes prefer anecdote to exposition and a needs centred response above the systematic teaching of God’s Word. Essentially they reduce compassionate preaching to egocentric and therapeutic considerations of the human psyche: the Bible is but one source to gain intelligence and insight as we seek to reach suffering people and thus with good intentions they walk the road to Hell (Gal. 1:6–8). If we are to preach God’s compassion it must be God’s Word that we preach and that alone. Aden and Hughes have overlooked this and present us with a work that is therefore not worth time or attention if we intend to preach God’s Word at all. However, as a case study on where liberal convictions on Scripture lead it is a useful instructive warning.

Andrew Shudall