Preaching to a Postmodern World
Graham Johnston: IVP, 2001
This is an excellent book on contemporary Christian communication. It sets out to explain how we can adapt our methods to be more effective at reaching people today, without watering down our message to suit the convenience of contemporary listeners. Although the title suggests that it is mainly for ministers, it will be invaluable to anyone who is involved in communicating the Christian message on a regular basis - preachers, junior church leaders, home group leaders, Christian union leaders, teachers, and writers.
The cover blurb says: 'A Christian minister out of touch with contemporary culture is like an uninformed missionary trying to teach in a foreign land. To communicate God's Word effectively in the twenty-first century, preachers must know how to connect with and confront an audience of listeners swimming in the currents of postmodernity.'
The first two chapters give a very helpful overview of today's world and how the issues involved in Christian communication have changed. Johnston then moves into four chapters covering general issues for Christian communicators. The last chapter provides specific advice on preaching. At the end of the book, Johnston says: 'Communicating God's message to twenty-first century listeners involves navigating a hazardous path with both opportunities and obstacles. For some, this emergence of postmodernity means closing the shutters and holding on tight in the hope that the tempest soon will pass. For others, the insurgence of postmodern times represents a fresh breeze with a whole new realm of possibility - a long overdue wind that could lift a stale and musty order from our sanctuaries. Whichever the case, each of us as preachers of God's Word will have to decide how to address new generations of the twenty-first century.' Buy this book for yourself - and buy another copy to give to your minister.
Graham Johnston is senior pastor of Subiaco Church of Christ, Western Australia, and an adjunct lecturer in homiletics at Perth Bible College.
Reviewed by David A Couchman MA, MSc of Focus Radio. This review first appeared in Focus Radio Newsletter.
Headline Summer 2003 p.23.