Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Preaching the Hard Sayings of Jesus

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Preaching the Hard Sayings of Jesus

Article excerpt

Preaching the Hard Sayings of Jesus. By John T. Carroll and James R. Carroll. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996. x + 174 pp. $14.95 (paper).

The premise of this book is that while the church may prefer to avoid or simply dull the cutting edges of the puzzling, disconcerting, disturbing sayings of Jesus, study of his most challenging words is profitable for his disciples because those very words take us to the heart of Jesus' message. Written in joint authorship by father and son, the book follows a two-step method of examination: First, the son provides a scholarly exegesis of a single text; then the father offers a sermon based on that same text.

Acknowledging that not all the difficult sayings of Jesus are included for discussion, the authors choose to focus on three thematic categories of sayings: those that are hard to accept, those that are hard for modern readers to comprehend, and those that reveal the scandal of Jesus' humanity. In the early chapters, among the most successful movements from exegetical interpretation to completed sermon is one based on Luke 15:11-32: From the parable commonly called "The Prodigal Son," the reader learns that it is the father who is truly wayward. Also strong are two texts from the third category under examination which confront the hard message of the cross, entitled "Was Jesus afraid to Die?" (p. 139) and '%Vere You There (God) when They crucified My Lord? …

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