Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon

I must applaud the heart and soul put into this book. Gordon wrote this when he had cancer that was a threat to his life. He had a big burden on his heart about the state of preaching, and thus put his burden into this little diamond of a composition. Fortunately, he survived through his bout of cancer.

Gordon is not saying preaching is bad, but that most preaching in most churches is bad. Why? Using a good bit of anecdotal evidence and case study findings (like the correlation between reading independently and the ability to independently think), he reveals that the root of mediocre preaching across America is due to a lack of reading and writing. And what reading pastors do, it’s mostly for big points and not underlying themes or patterns. Also, writing doesn’t exactly cut the cake when it’s all online emails or social media.

So what Gordon asks is, when you take the reading and writing problems of preachers and hand them a Bible, how does that turn out? Like other books: it isn’t read, written about or preached on well. Gordon offers different solutions to combat our culture of “motion-worship” and may even ignite a desire in you to pick up some classic texts (he made me want to pick up a poetry anthology) in the process.

With a firm tone and revealing content, Gordon managed to efficiently and effectively pack all of his thoughts, concerns, and motivations into 108 pages. This book can be read in a matter of days if not less. I enjoyed the book so much I found myself wishing he had filled the book with more of his well-placed wisdom.

Whether you feel the call to ministry, seminary, or you just want to know what’s so important about reading and writing, you’d be at a loss for not picking this book up. It’s only 108 pages — get reading!!

Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped The Messengers


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