Sunday, December 21, 2008
Book Review: "Pulpit Crimes" by James White
In "Pulpit Crimes," James White seeks to expose those things which bring shame to the proclamation of God's Word. In order for something to be a crime, there must be a law in place. And that is what the author seeks to prove in this short but powerful book.
Some of the chapter titles include, "Prostitution," "Felonious Eisegesis," and "Body Count." Though I found the titles to be a bit on the cheesy side, I found the content to be compelling. To anyone reading this book, prepare your traditions to be challenged. What the author focused on as crimes, there were clear biblical commands to define them as such. One of these that I found to be most valuable was the pulpit crimes related to the preaching work.
Few Christians realize that the Bible has some very specific commands in regards to the preaching work. While I was hoping the author could spend some time discussing topical vs. expository, he spent most of the time in dealing with the pulpit crime of not preaching the full council of God's Word. I suppose this might have been a defense for expository preaching, but I think his main point was to point out that too many pastors choose to speak on those topics that they want to speak about, while trying to avoid those "difficult" subjects like doctrine.
One thing I appreciated about this book was that it covered churches from every end of the spectrum. So whether you are a part of a solid Reformed Baptist fellowship or a leftist Episcopal one, the author covered topics from the most liberal to the most conservative in terms of their pulpit crimes. Topics like pluralism were tackled, as well as the women's role in the church. In other words, it seems like there was something in here for everyone!
Overall, this book is worth reading because I don't think our traditions are challenged enough. There is always the potential danger or falling into a man-centered time of worship that is focused more on the show than on God. So its always good to be reminded of what's most important in our time of worship; and that is God!