Jonathan Leeman’s book “Word Centered Church” is a succinct, emphatic reminder to the Church today to be centered upon the Person given in the written revelation Scripture. The Bible to Leeman is what draws the Church together to sing, pray, and to hear from God. It seems the aim of this book is two-fold. First, Leeman wants the local church (and Church as a whole) to remember that “one thing is necessary-hearing God’s Word through preaching, reading, singing, and praying.” So to refocus our churches on God’s Word is essential. Second, it seems Leeman wants the reader, as one reviewer expressed (and I agree) “to fall in love with the Bible” (Ed Stetzer, back cover).
Leeman accomplishes these two purposes with the way he presents the book. The book is divided into the introduction, part I, part II, part III, and conclusion/appendixes. The introduction functions as every introduction, but Leeman ensures that he is writing something new, but a reminder to the call of the Church to be Christ-Centered by being Word-Centered. Part I discusses the Word itself-Leeman’s theology of the God’s Word and how God through God’s active Word accomplishes God’s purposes. In part II, Leeman discusses the necessity of a Bible-centered, expositional sermon. Here he discusses that, essentially, the most powerful form of preaching is expositional preaching (that is, verse-by-verse, book-by-book preaching). My one disagreement with this section is that Leeman seems to imply
Part I discusses the Word itself-Leeman’s theology of the God’s Word, God’s active Word and how it has the power to divide, the power to free, and the power to expose. In part II, Leeman discusses the necessity of a Word-Centered, expositional sermon. Here he discusses that, essentially, the most powerful form of preaching is expositional preaching (that is, verse-by-verse, book-by-book preaching). My one disagreement with this section is that Leeman seems to imply that God cannot accomplish God’s purposes through any other form of preaching (topical or narrative for example). I appreciate sermons that expose (exposit) the truth of God, but I do not personally think it must be done in one particular form. Part III discusses the church’s role in being Word-Centered in that the church sings of God’s faithful Word, prays through the Word, disciples through the Word and is sent out by the commands in the Word from the incarnate Word. He concludes with the challenge to the reader, “Serve your church and read your Bible.” An appropriate challenge indeed.
I recommend this book because it is coherent and concise in what the author seeks to communicate: be a Word-Centered church. The message is simple, but the response is up to the reader.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Moody Press through the Moody Blogger Review Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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