Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book Review: Spirit Empowered Preaching

Spirit Empowered Preaching
Involving the Holy Spirit in Your Preaching
by Arturo G. Azurdia III
©1998, Christian Focus Publications
183 pages

I absolutely love this book. Here's my struggle: Every time I teach a class on preaching--or walk through a book with others regarding preaching--I always end up reading a better book before we finish the class. I've always enjoyed teaching the preaching classes, but once you've read a better resource it is a temptation to look ahead to the next class rather than finish strong. While I loved Mohler's He Is Not Silent (and am not disappointed we are using it), I can't wait to teach a class using this resource. I simply can't imagine a better book on preaching.

Preaching is often described as a combination of art and science. Some preachers will focus more on the art; the illustrations, delivery and presentation. Others focus on the science; the exegesis, structural outline and doctrine. In most conversations, the goal seems to be the healthy balance. Rarely does a book exhibit fully pursuing both. Arturo fills the book with chapter end-notes (I personally prefer footnotes, but have been told it intimidates too many readers), showing that he has done his homework. Many of his points are supported and built up through commentaries and greek exegesis. Yet, this book is far from a text book. Azurdia regularly reminds the reader that the goal is not simply filling the head. We are not just aiming to inform, but are seeking to see transformation. Azurdia does not encourage us to seek the balance between art and science, but beautifully displays fully pursuing both. Yet success will not be in your art or science. Success will be the work of the Holy Spirit.

Uh oh, I just said "Holy Spirit," a topic some believers have occasionally disagreed over. Azurdia quotes William Still as saying:

It is often lamented that the Holy Spirit is the least understood Person of the Trinity, but surely we see why this is so; for the Holy Spirit comes not to speak of Himself, but to glorify Christ. Where preachers are intent on glorifying Christ (and only crucified men can do so!), the Spirit is there with all His aid. All true showing forth of Christ is by the Holy Spirit.
Speaking of quotes...the preceding ten quotes were gems in Azurdia's book.

Arturo summarizes Spirit Empowered Preaching as:
    1. Spirit empowered preaching is the principle means of advancing the kingdom of Christ.
    2. Spirit Empowered Preaching will be evangelical in emphasis.
    3. Spirit Empowered Preaching is the responsibility of the Church.

If you don't understand what I mean by Christ-centered preaching...you need to read this book. He explains it better than I do.

If you do understand what I mean by Christ-centered preaching...you need to read this book, for it will encourage you and refine your preaching.

If you are prone to overly academic/scholarly preaching...you need to read this book.

If you are prone to overly emotive preaching...you need to read this book.

If you preach...you will be blessed to read this book.

At this point, if a man could only read one book in addition to the Bible to understand preaching, I would have them read Spirit Empowered Preaching. (Of course, that could change when I get an opportunity to teach this book.)

[By the way, if you read this post and do not aspire to ever preach, Azurdia has a wonderful concluding chapter on the congregation's responsibility in preaching. Azurdia exhorts the reader that "the congregation must earnestly take up its mandate to make intercession for the effects of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word of God." I would covet those prayers.]

1 comment:

Darby Livingston said...

I was wondering why I'd never heard of the book until I saw the publication date. I was barely a Christian when it came out.