Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck (1854–1921) is widely celebrated as one of the most eloquent divines in the Reformed tradition. Despite having preached regularly throughout his adult life, how he preached and what he thought about preaching have remained largely unknown to the many preachers who read him in the present day—until now. Herman Bavinck on Preaching & Preachers provides an English translation of Bavinck’s key texts on preaching and preachers, including his only published sermon.
For Bavinck, in order to preach well, one has to be a particular kind of person: someone who lives coram Deo, whose conscience and imagination are open to being powerfully stirred by both Creator and the creation, and who is steeped in Scripture. In short, he describes someone quite different from the detached, disenchanted modern Western people of Bavinck’s own day. These texts provide a profound critique of modern Western culture, and describe the sense in which it often prevents its inhabitants from preaching well. Furthermore, they demonstrate both how Bavinck himself preached, and how he understood preaching within the worship service and the wider life of the church.
James P. Eglinton (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the Meldrum Lecturer in Reformed Theology at New College, University of Edinburgh. He is a systematic and historical theologian who has written extensively on Herman Bavinck. His first book, the acclaimed Trinity and Organism (Bloomsbury, 2012), offers a new reading of Bavinck as both an orthodox and a modern figure.
“It is too rare to have a world-class theologian telling and showing us how to preach, but here we have the great Herman Bavinck doing so. His discussion in Eloquence in Herman Bavinck on Preaching & Preachers is remarkably nuanced, where he calls for a combination of theological substance with moving eloquence, as well as ‘solemnity and unction.’ What he said a century ago is no less true now: ‘Preaching is, at present, out of touch with the time and does not meet its needs.’ This volume will help us face the challenge of preaching in our own age.”
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
“In this wonderful book, Bavinck offers wise counsel to preachers today—about style and content, about the place of the sermon in the larger pattern of worship, and much more! O Lord, move many preachers, and teachers of preaching, to read this book!”
—Richard Mouw, President Emeritus and Professor of Faith and Public Life, Fuller Theological Seminary
“James Eglinton has done the church a great service . . . in translating and editing Bavinck’s reflections on preaching. Here we see a great systematician serving the church and modeling for us the way to combine doctrinal profundity with pastoral sympathy and homiletic simplicity.”
—David Strain, Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi