The Witness of Preaching

by Thomas G. Long. Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.

In this useful book, Long presents the metaphor of the preacher as witness. He views the vocation of the preacher as witnessing to God’s presence in scripture; the preacher’s authority is based not on rank but on what the preacher has seen and heard. Long sees the community of faith as central to the event of preaching. The preacher does not stand over and against the community but goes to the scripture on behalf of the community and shares with the whole community, the preacher included, what the community has witnessed. There is a wealth of information on how to construct a sermon. Long believes that each sermon should have a statement of focus, which describes the unifying theme, and a statement of function, which describes the effect the preacher hopes the sermon will have on the hearers. Long also discusses beginnings, endings, connections, images, illustrations, and some of the mechanics of delivery. His treatments are always helpful and reasonable.