Our reading group at Hope Church is about to start Chris Green’s, “Cutting to the Heart: applying the Bible in teaching and preaching”. I’ve read half of the book so far, and like it very much. I actually think that Chris (or the publishers, IVP), are underselling it: the subheading suggests that this is a “getting the application right in preaching” book, but Chris’s aim is far more ambitious, and his thesis is that a merely expositional sermon, devoid of a call to change in the light of grace, and lacking the help for the hearer to do so, is not a Christian sermon.
Our group is made up of regular, occasional and aspiring preachers from all sorts of backgrounds and traditions. I know we’ll find the book hugely stimulating, and I’m really looking forward to leading them through it.
Here is our first round of questions, on pages 9-44:
1. Have you ever had something like Chris’s experience in the pulpit (pp.11-12)? What did you learn about preaching, and about your preaching?
2. Review the 8 points on Eccl.12.9-12 (pp.14-18). Are they a convincing framework for studying preaching? Why / why not?
3. What makes you feel like you’ve preached (or heard) a good sermon?
4. Explore the sequence of image, glory, God speaking, the church, and preaching (pp.25-33). What is the essence of it?
5. Are you clearer now about the goal of preaching?
6. If the Bible IS relevant, what is the mistake we often make as preachers as we handle it (p.36)? Have you got examples from your own preaching?
7. Was Jesus’ teaching ministry more about informing, or calling for change (pp.40-41)? What implications does our answer have on our ministry as preachers?
8. How does Jas. 1.22-25 work as a charge for preachers (p.44)?