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A Review of Spirit-led Preaching by Greg Heisler

How to proclaim the Word in the power of the Spirit

Greg Heisler, author of Spirit-led Preaching (B&H, 2007) is a bold writer. First, he tackles a controversial subject: how preachers experience the work of the Holy Spirit in the preparation and delivery of their messages. Second, he faces difficult issues head on. He has worked through the questions and is not afraid to clearly state where he stands.

For example, in a chapter devoted to "the anointing" or "unction" of preaching, Heisler writes, "To reduce powerful preaching to talent—even God-given talent—seems to me to overlook the Spirit's ministries made available to us in preaching" (130). Heisler clearly believes the empowerment of the Spirit is not something the preacher can take for granted. This practical focus is one of the things I appreciate most about his book: the author talks both theology and experience. He is keenly tuned to what the Scriptures say about the work of the Spirit and how we actually go about preaching in his power.

Preaching must rely on the power of both Word and Spirit.

Several core convictions drive the book. Heisler believes preaching must rely on the power of both Word and Spirit (10–11). He writes, "We have lost our sense of the supernatural, and as a result, preaching has become the activity of man instead of the ministry of God" (11). But he does not downplay the importance of exegesis or homiletics. He says preachers must pay attention both to the dynamics of preaching and the mechanics of preaching (12). He champions sequential exposition of Scripture but distinguishes between a sermon that is driven by the text and a sermon that is driven by the Spirit down the path of the text (18–19).

Greg writes, "One characteristic of Spirit-empowered preaching is 'fearlessness' or 'boldness'" (136). With that description in mind, I would say Greg is a Spirit-empowered writer. Any preacher who longs to see lives changed and to preach with a sense of God's presence will want to read Spirit-led Preaching.

Greg Heisler pastored for eight years and now teaches preaching at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Craig Brian Larson is the pastor of Lake Shore Church in Chicago and author and editor of numerous books, including The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching (Zondervan). He blogs on Knowing God and His Ways at craigbrianlarson.com.

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