18/12/2015 by Chris Green
This is a really positive review of Cutting to the Heart by Peter Lewis, writing in Evangelicals Now.
‘Not a mirror but a doorway’
I have read, over the years, a number of books on preaching which I have particularly valued. They included books by Martyn Lloyd Jones (classic); John Stott (comprehensive); Haddon Robinson (perceptive and practical); and Bryan Chapell (comprehensive and superb – the best buy I know).
Beside these I found hugely helpful (and endlessly quotable in sermons!) Preaching to a Post-modern World: a Guide to ReachingTwenty-first Century Listeners by Graham Johnston (Baker 2001) and, very salutary, Preaching that Speaks to Women by Alice P. Matthews (Baker 2003). Both of these have a foreword by Haddon Robinson and both I would make compulsory reading in any course on preaching.
Now I have another which I would put on a par with all these for excellence. It is Chris Green’s book Cutting to the Heart: Applyingthe Bible in Teaching and Preaching.
Strongly biblical – as you would expect from the former vice-principal of Oak Hill giving the annual Moore College Lectures in Australia and in view of his life-time devotion to expository preaching.
Uncompromisingly challenging – he expects the preacher to be too: ‘Since every sinful generation is self-obsessed, it goes with the job of the preacher to know that we have to force people to stop looking at the Bible as a mirror, and to see it as the doorway through which we meet God’ (p. 46).
Thoroughly contemporary – in its awareness of the wider scene around us in the 21st century, both in the churches – and their (often unfilled) hunger for deeper Bible teaching (read the survey on pages 94–95) – and in the world scene
Intellectually strong – this is no fireside book, but a serious and sometimes demanding guide in how to deal with biblical passages and their significance for us all entering into dialogue with other respected writers such as Greidanus and Goldsworthy. Green, however, is always clear and politely independent (e.g. 134–147).
Determinedly applied – 2 Timothy 3.16, for instance gives us a grid that asks: ‘What does the passage teach, what does it rebuke, how does it correct, how does it train in righteousness’ (p.130). He is unapolo-getically rigorous along this line but lest that should seem only cerebral or merely behavioural, Part Four has chapters on ‘How does the Bible address the heart?’ Highly commended!