Book Reviews

THE IMPERATIVE OF PREACHING, A theology of sacred rhetoric

By: John Carrick 12/18/2020

As an Elder in a local church and a person who serves in pulpit supply from time to time, I am always looking for good material that I can benefit from in regards to better preaching. I found just that in this book by John Carrick.  This book is about what “constitutes effective and powerful preaching.” If you are a preacher, Sunday School teacher, or layman in some ministry format, I recommend this reading to you.

Is preaching still relevant? Is it important? Is it effective? John argues that it is and our preaching can be greatly enhanced “if preachers make use of the pattern of communication laid down by God in Scripture.” In his introduction he explains the difference between “spurious” rhetoric and “sacred” rhetoric, and I think clearly makes the argument that simply because rhetoric can be abused, the abuse does not invalidate its proper use.

John’s thesis is that the normal structure we see God using within the writing of our New Testament is one of the indicative-imperative. He also observes that God made use of two other grammatical or rhetorical categories, namely, the exclamative and the interrogative. Obviously the breadth of this topic goes well beyond just these four categories, but John’s view is that there is “something foundational about them.”

John takes a chapter each to explain the individual grammatical moods and there usage in Scripture. But what I thoroughly enjoyed about this book was the amount of examples he brought forth in relation to preaching itself! Examples from the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Samuel Davies, Asahel Nettleton, and Martin Lloyd-Jones. 

“If we believe that prayer – soaked biblical preaching ‘in demonstration of the Spirit and power’ (1 Corinthians 2:4) is the grand battering ram for the demolishing of the bastions of ignorance and vise, and if we believe such preaching to be the unrivaled means ordained of God for the conversion and edification of men, then careful attention must be given to the biblical answer to the question, “what constitutes effective preaching and why is it so?”

This book has been a great help to me by way of instruction, and as an enjoyable delight to my soul in all the preaching laid out on these pages by those great preachers he quotes in this book.

This book is 202 pages long, 7 Chapters with additional illustrations, and citations throughout. This work get’s my strong recommendation!


I have recently read through this book by pastor and author Trevor Bates. A self published book, 82 pages in length, double spaced, and in large print, makes this book an easy read for those who are not looking for a writing that is academic in nature. That doesn’t mean this book is weak in addressing its topic, by no means, Trevor covers his topic well, i.e., how the Psalms give us a theology of thanksgiving which at its core involves how we should view and worship God.

I enjoyed the manner in which the author broke down various aspects of a Psalm, and showed how they lead to thanksgiving and praise throughout or by the end of the Psalm. I also appreciated the time the author spent in chapter two instructing the reader to slow down and truly read, not just for the sake of reading, but read to understand the intended meaning of a writing.

Priced at only $6.99 on Amazon, this investment will not hurt your pocketbook, and I believe will be helpful in gaining a biblical perspective on thanksgiving.