Patrick WT Johnson, IVP (2015)


This meticulously researched book is inspired by the need to critically review the theology, purpose and practice of preaching in relation to mission in the present day. Johnson’s starting point is Newbigin’s work exploring what would be involved in ‘a genuinely missionary encounter between the gospel and Western culture’. Drawing widely upon other theological texts he explores the roles of both preacher and the Christian community in the work of mission.

This is a wide-ranging academic approach to missional homiletics. The author’s debate and discussion based on Barth, Newbiggin and other theologians is inspiring. However for those not familiar theological terms or concepts that section is quite difficult to follow and needs ready access to a dictionary. This is not the case in later sections and I have found that his wide ranging view of the work of the whole church to be both inspiring and refreshing.

This book will be a great asset primarily to those in full-time ministry and in teaching theology and the art of preaching. But it also has much to inspire and give new vision to all engaged in preaching or mission within the church. It might also form the basis of group study and discussion focussing upon the practical issues discussed in the chapters rather than the academic discussion.

Reviewed by Jean A Ball