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Preaching Ethically: Being True To The Gospel, Your Congregation, & Yourself

The Alban Institute, Virginia, 2008
RRP $24.95

Reviewed by Karyl Davison.

It would be hard to find a preacher who would argue against preaching with personal integrity. While that may be so, this is no easy task.

It is very challenging to practice integrity in our preaching, particularly at times of controversy, after there’s been a local or national crisis or when preaching on complex socio-political issues.

This slim and very approachable volume in the Vital Worship, Healthy Congregations series explores how you can preach in a way that meets the needs of your congregation or faith community as well as living up to professional standards and personal integrity.

Every preacher approaches the preaching task with their own unique world view, even those who claim to “just preach the bible”.

Using stories, and current examples, Mr Sisk argues that in the first instance, the preacher must know themselves.

They must examine themselves to become aware of inevitable biases , both social and theological, their philosophical convictions and general worldviews.

Other issues addressed include how much weakness should preachers acknowledge in his or her relationship with the congregation?; what considerations should be taken into account when the gospel and a congregation’s cultural or ethical values clash?; and being balanced in your preaching.

Preaching Ethically also explores the ethics surrounding preaching and politics.

Although the book is written for a North American readership, it nevertheless speaks into our own context – just insert the appropriate stories and situations.

Whereas the US example may be conflicts about abortion, you could just as easily insert conflicts about sexuality.

Instead of the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, replace with the recent floods, cyclone or bushfires.

An excellent and timely reminder to preachers, of the enormous responsibility we have when we take on the great privilege of preaching the gospel!