Letters to My Students Vol. 1: On Preaching by Jason K. Allen–Book Review

In this book, Dr Jason Allen, president and the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Missouri and an associate professor of preaching and pastoral ministry, writes in the tradition of Charles Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students. He has a passion to serve God through equipping pastors to fulfill their calling. This is the first volume in a series of three.

He begins with a section on preparing to be a preacher, including the essential indicators that a man has been called to this ministry. He follows with sensible instructions on how to prepare a sermon, and grow in maturity as a preacher. He has a strong bias in favor of expository sermons. If you’re not sure what an expository sermon is, here are some questions to help you identify one:

  • Is the text accurately interpreted with consideration given to both its immediate and broader biblical contexts?
  • Are the sermon’s main point and its subpoints derived from the text?
  • Does the sermon’s application come from the text, and is the text being brought to bear on the congregation?

As you can see, this method of preaching supports a high view of the Scriptures. To preach in an expository way is to preach the text.

Maybe you are asking yourself at this point, if I am not a pastor, why should I read this book? Well here’s my answer. It will make you a more discerning listener. Someday as the member of a congregation, you will need to call a new pastor. Part of that call process will probably involve listening to at least one sermon given by each person you are considering. Shouldn’t you, therefore, educate yourself on what to look for?

This book will also give you an idea of just how much prayer, study and work your pastor puts into every sermon he prepares. It’s an important and daunting task. Dr. Allen reminds preachers:

“…the sermon is to do more than entertain or simply fill the hour of worship. The sermon is to impart words of life—words of new life to the unbeliever and words of continual growth for the Christian. Remember as you preach, the stakes are so high because your audience, separated from Christ, is so low.”

I found this book easy to read and informative, and would recommend it to both pastors and lay people. The only issue I found as a Lutheran, was the chapter of the public invitation. Since Lutherans believe that we do not choose Christ, He chooses us, so Lutheran sermons do not include this.

VERDICT: 5 stars

If you are interested in purchasing this book, follow the link below:

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/letters-to-my-students-P005811476

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.