Mark’s #3: Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers

In my opinion, less than 30 percent of those who are ordained to the Christian ministry can preach even a mediocre sermon” – T. David Gordon.

When I received this book in the mail, I was initially disappointed by the relatively small size of it (108 pages).  I thought it would only offer some surface level assessment of the current problem of the state of the pulpit today.   Though brief, Gordon does an excellent job of diagnosing and analyzing the problem, and prescribing some first steps to recovering a Christ-centered pulpit.

Gordon argues that our culture no longer automatically prepares men and women to be clear thinkers, writers, and communicators.  Put simply, few people know how to read or write well.  Such technologies as the television, telephone, movies, Internet, instant messaging, are not conducive to deep thinking and clear communication.

As such, Gordon implores ministers and ministerial candidates to develop the discipline of reading slowly and thoughtfully, and to regularly practice meaningful writing (journaling, articles, blogs, etc.).    Those that do read a lot tend to speed read for information and miss the how and why of the composition of the text.  Subsequently, most ministers do not know how to think clearly, compose unified sermons with a clear point that is derived from and faithful to the biblical text.

As I read this book, I thought often how delighted our friend Ron (an English teacher) would be with Gordon’s solutions.   Gordon implores pre-seminarians to pursue a degree in English literature at the undergraduate level.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in pursuing ministry and any pastor interested in faithfully proclaiming the Word in a way that is Christ-centered and God glorifying.

5 Stars.

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