BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 8, 2016

Cover ArtAncient Christian Worship by Andrew McGowen, and Reformed Catholicity by Michael Allen and Scott Swain, were recommended in Reformation 21’s 2015 End of Year Review of Books.

In my humble judgment, Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation, written by Michael Allen and Ref21’s own Scott Swain, deserves book of the year status. Allen and Swain present a vision for Protestant engagement with the Church’s past and the saints that populate that past that every evangelical Christian really should read.

A Vision for Preaching, by Abraham Kuruvilla, won an Editor’s Choice award in Preaching Today’s 2016 Book Awards.

Exploring Catholic Theology, by Bishop Robert Barron, was reviewed at Stuart’s Study.

At the Ligonier blog, Keith Mathison included Craig Keener’s Acts: An Exegetical Commentary in his post My 5 Favorite Theology Reads of 2015.

Cover ArtIngolf Dalferth’s Crucified and Resurrected was reviewed at Tabletalk Theology.

Crucified and Resurrected is a lovely, meticulously-argued, challenging work that resists simplistic pronouncements. One can only slowly work through it and leave notes in the margins. Readers will be fully rewarded for their efforts.

Alvin Rapien at The Poor in Spirit also reviewed Crucified and Resurrected.

The Accordance blog recommended Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek.

Spiritual Companioning by Angela Reed, Richard Osmer, and Marcus Smucker, was reviewed by Joshua Valdez.

Zack Ford, at Longing for Truth, reviewed An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication by Quentin Schultze and Diane Badzinski.


Theological vs. Traditional Exegesis – an Excerpt from A Vision for Preaching

The following is an excerpt from A Vision for Preaching, by Abraham Kuruvilla.


What has been taught and practiced over the centuries in the “old” homiletic is an indiscriminate excavation of the text, the exegetical turning over of whatever can be unearthed, whether it be earth, wood, bone, stone, potsherds, whatever.

These operations of traditional exegesis, integral to the “old” homiletic, involve a slicing and dicing of the text with word studies, sentence diagramming, linguistic analyses, historical investigations, geographical inquiries, and so on. Much information is dug up; unfortunately, none of it very useful to the preacher to craft a sermon for changing lives with that particular text.

Cover ArtWhat is necessary is to grasp the thrust of the text, what the author is doing with what he is saying, to comprehend the projected world, the theology of the pericope. I therefore propose a theological exegesis that privileges the text, looking for clues to its theology—not a random dig but a directed one that searches specifically for those gold nuggets of pericopal theology.

Within every text, there are literary and stylistic traces of authors’ agendas, evidence pointing to the authors’ doings, signs that lead to the discovery of pericopal theology. But only a privileging of the text by theological exegesis will discover that precious ore.

All texts, sacred and secular, and particularly those intended to influence behavior over a lengthy span of time (i.e., the classics), are agenda-driven creations of their authors. It is no different for the canonical classic that Scripture is. Its human authors, too, were writing with an agenda, and their literary productions were intended to convey that agenda—the theology of those texts.

….In sum, it is the text that must be privileged, for it alone is inspired. Events behind the text are not inspired and therefore not expressly “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). All this to say, for the goal of life transformation, it is not the events that must be attended to but the Holy Spirit’s accounts of those events—the text must be privileged.

Or to put it differently, the text is not a plain glass window that the reader looks through (to discern some event behind it—traditional exegesis in the “old” homiletic). Rather, the narrative is a stained-glass window that the reader looks at (theological exegesis in the “new” homiletic).

©2015 by Abraham Kuruvilla. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


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


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.