I received an electronic copy of this book free of charge against a fair review.
There is no doubt that every preacher would agree that preaching is an oral task. Yet, the majority of us preachers rely on a literary style. This helpful little book powerfully argues that we should go back to an oral style, and that a specific method is required if we are to preach in an oral style. The author highlights a few principles from antiquity’s best orators: Augustine, Aristotle and Quintilian.
In the second part, he tries to give a biblical basis for his argument and outlines his own method. He advocates the use of Â a sermon map rather that an outline.
It is a helpful book, but not a homiletic manual. The most helpful principle I got from reading this was from Quintilian’s idea of Vir Bonus. The author explains:
The Latin term vir bonus, meaning a man of virtuous character, is perhaps the feature for which Quintilian is best known. For Quintilian, there is no separation of speech and speaker. Who a person is irrepressibly leaks into what is said.31 â€œWe are to form, then, the perfect orator, who cannot exist unless as a good man, and we require in him, therefore, not only consummate ability in speaking, but every excellence of mindâ€ (Institutio oratoria, preface, 9).
For Quintilian, an orator draws deeply upon something as he speaks. It is not the external brute facts of a given case or matter, but the personal grasp a speaker has upon the situation as informed by moral character. The well from which he draws is internal and personal. â€œI am convinced that no one can be an orator who is not a good man, and even if anyone could, I should be unwilling that he should beâ€ (1.2.3). An unprincipled preacher simply cannot draw deeply from internal resources so as to react to the moment in a grounded way. If the preacher is passing along secondhand truth, the essential connections between mind and mouth are missing.
I thought I would give a go at some of the principles outlined in this book, and decided to preach from a sermon map and not type an outline. I used a sermon I had preached once or twice before, but it worked well. I carefully mapped my thoughts, drawing some of the ideas instead of writing words. I thought it helped me. You may want to have a go at it. here is my map for a sermon on the Flood.