New Release: A Vision for Preaching

Cover ArtTeacher of preachers Abraham Kuruvilla develops an integrated biblical and theological vision for preaching that addresses the essentials of this most important activity in the church.

Kuruvilla draws on influential voices from church history, teases out scriptural connections, and sifts through biblical theology to reclaim what has been lost through the centuries. Beyond a rearticulation of past wisdom, Kuruvilla offers fresh insights, showing preachers what they can aim for as an ideal in their preaching. He enables preachers to have a better conception of what it means to preach, a fuller understanding of the divinely granted privilege of preaching, and a greater excitement for the preaching ministry.


“Building on earlier work, Kuruvilla offers a systematic and readable vision for the preparation of sermons and especially the preparation of preachers as they wrestle with the biblical text.” – Daniel Block, Wheaton College

“One of the best homiletical thinkers today….Kuruvilla has given us a vision for preaching that is insightful, comprehensive, and compelling.” – Donald R. Sunukjian, Talbot School of Theology

“In A Vision for Preaching, homiletics scholar Abraham Kuruvilla offers a compelling vision of what preaching is and can be.” – Michael Duduit, executive editor, Preaching magazine

“No book presents a better balance of heart and head, Spirit and truth, and orthodoxy and orthopraxy than A Vision for Preaching.” – Hershael W. York, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Well researched, thoughtful, and sometimes controversial, but fully worth consideration.” – Kenton C. Anderson, Northwest Baptist Seminary

“Abraham Kuruvilla provides a compelling vision that challenges preachers to lift their sights higher in the preaching task–a challenge worth considering!” – Scott M. Gibson, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


Abraham KuruvillaAbraham Kuruvilla (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and is a practicing dermatologist. He has authored several books, including Privilege the Text! A Theological Hermeneutic for Preaching and a number of preaching commentaries. A past president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, he blogs regularly at

For more information on A Vision for Preaching, click here.

Beyond the Book – The Gospel and Heresy


Today we are pleased to share the latest post in our weekly series, Beyond the Book. This month David Wilhite discusses the development of orthodox Christology in light of early heretical movements.

Also, as part of this series we are giving away three copies of his book The Gospel according to Heretics. The winners will be announced at the end of the month, and you can enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The “Gospel according to…” theme stems back to the earliest collections of Gospel texts. The fact that there were four canonical Gospels, and the fact that readers had to understand that any one “Gospel” had to be clarified as “according to” someone in particular, bothered some ancient Christians.

Around 170 a Christian writer named Tatian called into to question the validity of having multiple Gospels – after all, could not God have given one authorized version? – and in order to solve the problem Tatian created a sort of “Super-Gospel” (called the Diatesseron) which harmonized all four. To be sure, Tatian was not the first or only Christian to see the Gospels as texts that could be reworked, but for now let us acknowledge that, unlike Tatian, most early Christians saw no problem with the “according to” aspect of “the Gospel.” For the majority of Christian tradition, any retelling or recording of “The Gospel” will always be a version “according to” someone. Jesus apparently set up what we call evangelism (notice the borrowed Greek word for “Gospel,” euangelion; i.e. “Gospelization”) so that the Good News would be dispersed in this “according to” strategy (see Acts 1:8). The Gospel would always be according to various witnesses.

Cover ArtThe four canonical Gospels were not the only ones, and beyond Gospel texts there were numerous expressions of the Good News of Jesus Christ, such as oral proclamation, letters, and apocalyptic literature.

But what about the so-called heretics, who may or may not have written a Gospel text, but who nevertheless always had their own particular understanding of the Gospel? My book is an attempt to hear what the heretics preached about Jesus.

 What if the “orthodox” version of the story has misled us? What if people like Arius were misrepresented and maligned? What if the Gnostics were not wolf-like philosophers in sheep’s clothing, but well intended disciples who utilized a different conceptual and imaginative approach to their theology? I could go on and on with such What-ifs.

These questions are not simply intellectual gymnastics, much less are they conspiracy theories in the making. The best historical studies of the last century have found evidence to suggest that our understanding of the “heretics” is so one sided as to need revising. This book is an attempt to take this scholarly reassessment seriously. Such reassessment has been done extensively for each individual heresy, but a study of the various unorthodox alternatives that shaped traditional Christian thinking offers those who wish to understand their own orthodoxy a more complete picture.

If our orthodoxy was forged in the fires of heretical debate, then we had better understand what these heresies taught. On the other hand, some heresies offered untenable versions of the Gospels. Exactly what was their heresy and why was it untenable is something that I try to unpack fully in the body of this study.


David E. Wilhite (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is associate professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University. He is the author of Tertullian the African: An Anthropological Reading of Tertullian’s Context and Identities and coauthor of The Church: A Guide for the Perplexed. He is the coeditor of Tertullian and Paul and The Apostolic Fathers and Paul in the Pauline and Patristic Scholars in Debate series.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 2, 2015

Spiritual Companioning, by Angela Reed, Richard Osmer, and Marcus Smucker, was reviewed at The Christian Century. The authors, practical theologians all, write passionately about the communal, relational nature of the church and the communal nature … [Continue reading]

Christianity, Modernity, and Missions in the Nineteenth Century – an Excerpt from The Unexpected Christian Century

The following is an excerpt from The Unexpected Christian Century, by Scott Sunquist. ——– Christianity in the nineteenth century was closely wedded to the advancing Christian kingdoms in the world. Throughout the nineteenth century, when Chinese … [Continue reading]

Beyond the Book – “Beyond the Surf in Santa Barbara”

Today we are pleased to share the latest post in our weekly series, Beyond the Book. This month Charles Farhadian discusses the importance of studying world religions, and reflects on what we can gain by learning to see life from another … [Continue reading]

New Release: The Unexpected Christian Century

In 1900 many assumed the twentieth century would be a Christian century because Western "Christian empires" ruled most of the world. What happened instead is that Christianity in the West declined dramatically, the empires collapsed, and … [Continue reading]

BA Books & Authors on the Web – September 25, 2015

The Pastor as Public Theologian, By Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan, was reviewed by Dave Jenkins at Servants of Grace. "This is an excellent book, one that should be read by Bible college and seminary students preparing for ministry. This book … [Continue reading]

Our Garden Context – an Excerpt from From Nature to Creation

The following is an excerpt from From Nature to Creation, by Norman Wirzba. ——– It is of profound theological and anthropological significance that the earliest biblical creation story places human beings in a garden. Why this agrarian setting as … [Continue reading]

The Death of Creation – an Excerpt from From Nature to Creation

The following is an excerpt from From Nature to Creation, by Norman Wirzba. ——– Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous declaration of the "death of God" has never simply been about the murder and burial of a divine being. It has also been about the "death of … [Continue reading]

New Release: From Nature to Creation

How does Christianity change the way we view the natural world? In this addition to a critically acclaimed series, renowned theologian Norman Wirzba engages philosophers, environmentalists, and cultural critics to show how the modern concept of … [Continue reading]