Book Recommendation | The Imperative of Preaching by John Carrick

by | Jun 11, 2020 | Biblical Theology, Book Reviews, Preaching

Recently in a discussion about hermeneutics and preaching, the chairman of the Board of CBTS, John Miller, recommended to us John Carrick’s book entitled, The Imperative of Preaching: A Theology of Sacred Rhetoric.

John Carrick is introduced on the Banner of Truth website as follows: 

John Carrick is a graduate of Oxford University (BA, 1973; Certificate in Education, 1974; MA, 1978) and studied at London Theological Seminary, 1978-1980. He holds a D.Min. from Westminster Theological Seminary in California (2002). He was formerly Minister of Cheltenham Evangelical Church (1979-1992), briefly Lecturer in the History of Philosophy & Christian Thought at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina (1993), and Minister of Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Matthews, NC (1992-1994).

He is the author of The Imperative of Preaching: A Theology of Sacred Rhetoric and The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards, published by the Trust.

I was thinking of writing a review of the book myself, but I found the review of my esteemed friend, D. Scott Meadows online and feel no need to duplicate his fine review.  I do want, however, to add my commendation of this book and urge you to read it.

I just finished reading Carrick’s short volume myself.  The book is not long and is an easy read. (Even with the appendices, it is less than 200 pages.) It has been helpful to me in several respects. I want you men to be aware of this fine book and also receive help in your preaching from it.

Carrick’s interest is to discuss the biblical balance and relationship between the indicative and the imperative, especially as it affects our preaching.  There are five main chapters of the book sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion. He spends the first three of these main chapters discussing the indicative and then two discussing the imperative.

Over the course of the three chapters on the indicative, Carrick discusses the indicative, the exclamative, and the interrogative and gives examples of great preaching from each. He argues in them that the exclamative and the interrogative are forms of the indicative. I found his emphasis on the importance the interrogative in preaching particularly helpful.

Carrick then comes to the beating heart of his book in his two chapters on the imperative. In the first chapter on the imperative, Carrick discusses the imperative generally, its relationship to the indicative, and finally its importance in preaching.  In the second chapter, he dives into his critique of the redemptive-historical school of preaching and especially its more extreme forms. I found his historical survey of the controversy surrounding this school of preaching enlightening. I also found his critique of its deficiency with regard to the “imperative preaching” most timely and helpful. I urge you to read the book and give special attention to this chapter.

There it is. My recommended book of the day for you! Shortly, we will post D. Scott Meadows’ review of this fine book.

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