The "new homiletics," a recent article in Books and Culture states, "celebrates pilgrimage, not propositions." It "dances on the edge of mystery," maintaining that "the aim of preaching is … primarily … to 'evoke an event' or stimulate an encounter by making 'gestures towards the ineffable.'" In other words, the new homiletics no longer clearly acknowledges that while the Bible was written as a narrative that has a clear beginning, middle, and end, the Gospel itself is not so much a story as a proclamation-a declaration of the truth of what God has done for us through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. In these two volumes, the latest additions to Kent Hughes' "Preaching the Word" series, he never loses sight of the preacher's true task of proclaiming the Gospel so that his hearers, like Luke's readers, "may know the certainty of the things [they] have been taught" (Luke 1:4). Hughes takes this task utterly seriously, never neglecting the hard exegetical and interpretative work that must underlie all responsible exposition, for he knows that only that can ensure that he does not preach his own thoughts about God's Word, "but God's actual Word, his logos." Yet he also understands that his own life and conviction and passion must ring through his preaching, if his words, as God's words, are to sail like arrows into his hearers' hearts.
These one-hundred-and-seven chapters, each covering a natural unit of the text, never ignore Luke's artistry as a storyteller, even as they never fail to note Luke's historical care, his special theological emphases, his concern for women and for the poor and downtrodden, and even his special sensitivity to the musical poetry of praise (see 1:46-55; 1:68-79; 2:14; and 2:29-32). As I read them, I hear again the voice of my pastor, who, more effectively than any other I have heard, models William Ames's dictum that nothing makes a sermon more effective than when it unaffectedly comes out of the inward affection of the preacher's heart.