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Twenty Talks by Shaw Clifton set of four
Product Code: 02202101
- By Shaw Clifton
- Twenty Talks On:
- The Brilliant Fool; The Gospels 80 pages.
Christian preaching still has its place in the modern world. It has not been eclipsed by television, radio, cinema, the Internet, or any other modern means of communication.
Preaching is as old as the beginnings of Christianity. Mark 1:4-15 tells us that John the Baptist came preaching and so did Jesus, 'proclaiming the good news of God' (verse 14).
This short collection of uncomplicated Talks, on passages from the four Gospels, seeks to be helpful as possible thought or theme prompter for my fellow preachers. It might also be useful for small group discussion purposes. Some could find the book an aid to private reflection and prayer.
- Unmaking Enemies; Paul's Epistle to the Romans 95 pages.
This further collation of plain Talks is a companion volume to The Brilliant Fool - Twenty Talks on the Gospels and Is God Smiling? - Twenty Talks on the Psalms published simultaneously. My hope is that it might prove a blessing to readers and perhaps be an ideas prompter for fellow preachers. It could also be useful if used in private reflection and prayer, or as a stimulus for group discussion.
Like many others, I have tried to learn from the great John Wesley who wrote the following words as a Preface to his Sermons on Several Occasions, these being 44 discourses delivered by him in the mid-1700s: 'I design plain truth for plain people; therefore, of set purpose, I abstain from all nuance and philosophical speculations; from all perplexed and intricate reasoning; and, as far as possible, from even the show of learning, unless in sometimes citing the original Scripture. I labour to avoid all words which are not easy to be understood, or which are not used in common life and, in particular, those kinds of technical terms that so frequently occur in the study of Divinity; those modes of speaking which mend of reading are intimately acquainted with, but which common people are an unknown tongue.'
- Is God Smiling; The Psalms 90 pages.
Poetry and music have long played their part in communal worship. The Old Testament Psalms are much loved, much read evidence of this. Written long before Jesus was born, they have — since his advent — become more and more meaningful to Christian believers. They serve to nourish us, and that is at the root of my offering this third small collection of plain talks which might be found helpful if used for one's private devotions or for small group discussion. Preachers are welcome to use or adapt or add to the material in any way thought useful. With them in mind I turn to the 1675 prayer beloved of Lancelot Andrewes entitled "A Caution Before Preaching': 'I beseech thee that loving-kindness may pre-vent and follow me to teach me the wholesome things I know not; to keep me in the true things I know; to correct me when I am in error; to confirm me when I waver; and to preserve me from falsehoods.'
- A Belt of Linen; The Old Testament 89 pages.
This fourth collection of plain talks includes material based on eleven different books of the Old Testament, a modest sampling of its deep and wide riches. My wife, Birgitte, has been a faithful encourager as the work has taken shape amid the VOID-19 global pandemic. Again, Richard Gaudion has placed at my disposal his ample supportive skills, proving once more his indispensability as both colleague and friend. The final preparation for publication has been carried out by Paul Mortlock of The Salvation Army's International Headquarters. Not for the first time his careful, knowledgeable help has been most welcome.
As in previous books in this series I have tried not to be fanciful, but faithful in writing on the truths of the Bible, making no claim to expertise in the field of Old Testament scholarship. I acknowledge my reliance on many specialists who have reinforced or refined my own reflections on these Scriptures.
Some readers may be familiar with the writings of the celebrated German theologian and preacher, Helmut Thielicke. It was in January 1033 that Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party seized control in Germany. Thielicke thus lived under Nazi rule for the next seven years while teaching theology at the University of Heidelberg. Forced for various reasons to relinquish his post, he was obligated to contemplate taking on a role he had long sought to avoid: pastoring a church. He saw himself purely as an academic, unable to adapt to the demands of practical ministry in a parish. He dreaded the task of preaching to a congregation, so different from lecturing to students. His autobiographical Notes From a Wayfarer, published in English in 1995, tells of the utter transformation that came over him as a result of being a parish pastor. His attitude to preaching underwent a complete reversal: 'I regarded, and still regard, the sermon as the greatest intellectual achievement that can be demanded of a theologian.' He wrote that preaching involved a multiplicity of activities; precise interpretation of the biblical text; showing the everyday relevance; avoiding getting bogged down in an abstract train of thought; speaking graphically and vividly. He wanted 'ordinary people' to be able to understand with ease, and also; educated people; not to go away empty-handed.
These Talks seek too not to get bogged down in abstract thought. It is my prayer that they might be an aid for private reflection or group discussion, as well as serving to prompt additional ideas on the part of those called to the daunting ministry of preaching.
- The Brilliant Fool; The Gospels 80 pages.
- Published 2021 Salvation Books