Preaching as the Word of God: Answering an Old Question with Speech-Act Theory

Author(s): Sam Chan


According to the Reformers, preaching is the word of God. As the word of God, preaching is a foundation for the church. It is also vital for the personal growth of a Christian. But Christians are poorly equipped to understand how preaching is the word of God. Some Christians look for preaching that closely reproduces the text in the Bible. Other Christians look for preaching that creates maximal emotional and existential impact. And there is a lot of name-calling with Christians accusing preachers of "not preaching the word." But what type of preaching is the word of God? The purpose of this book is to equip Christians to understand how preaching can be God speaking. It accomplishes this with a survey of the problem in the history of the church, a detailed overview of key biblical texts, and finally the application of the contemporary philosophical tool of speech act theory.


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This is a worthwhile and stimulating book, and I recommend it highly. – Peter Adam

"How can we conclude that what we preach is the Word of God--God himself speaking through the sermon--as the Reformers insisted? In this important study, Sam Chan demonstrates that Luther and Calvin have it right, provided we focus on the New Testament insistence that rightly proclaiming the gospel is what is meant by preaching the Word of God. Chan then uses speech act theory to clarify his argument. The work is important not only for students of the Reformation, but for preachers who need to see that the faithful proclamation of the gospel is precisely what authorizes them to insist that their preaching is the word of God." – D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

General Fields

  • : 9781498220248
  • : Wipf Stock Publishers
  • : Wipf Stock Publishers
  • : July 2016
  • : June 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sam Chan
  • : Paperback
  • : 292