Preaching from Memory to Hope

Posted:  July 7th, 2011 by:  comments:  0
Thomas G. Long

Whatever else the renewal of Christ’s church entails, it directly involves what we preach, or do not preach. Thomas G. Long’s book, Preaching
from Memory to Hope (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009), adopts a critical stance regarding the kinds of preaching in serous need of reform—the “sloppier kinds of narrative preaching,” preaching that has abandoned “the language of Zion” in favor of the spirit of the age, sermons focused totally on the pragmatics of successful living, and pulpit talk that promotes a contemporized gnostic gospel. Regarding the last of these “vultures,” the author engages in a brilliant and devastating analysis of the spiritualized gospel of the Jesus Seminar in general and Marcus Borg in particular. On the other hand, the faithful preacher is grounded in the Incarnation and invites the assembly to a Spirit-enlivened memory of what God has done and therefore is about in our world. Long insists that those called to preach will speak the Christian hope; we will recover faithful preaching’s “eschatological voice.” If the publisher had desired a subtitle to Long’s book, it may well have best been put this way: A Homiletics of Church Renewal.

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