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Reformed Preaching (Beeke)

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Preaching today all too often tragically misses the point. 

We’ve all heard sermons that sound more like a lecture, filling the head but not the heart. And we’ve all heard sermons tailored to produce an emotional experience, filling the heart but not the head. But biblical preaching both informs minds and engages hearts—giving it the power to transform lives. By the Spirit’s grace, biblical preaching brings truth home from the heart of the preacher to the heart of the hearer.

Joel Beeke—a pastor and professor of preaching with over four decades of experience—explores the fundamental principles of Reformed experiential preaching, examining sermons by preachers from the past and bridging the historical gap by showing pastors what the preaching of God’s life-transforming truth looks like today.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Sinclair B. Ferguson
Preface and Acknowledgments

Part One: Reformed Experiential Preaching Defined and Described

  1. What Is Reformed Experiential Preaching?

  2. Preaching from Head to Heart

  3. Major Elements of Reformed Experiential Preaching

  4. The Experiential Preacher

Part Two: Reformed Experiential Preaching Illustrated

  1. Reformation Preachers: Zwingli, Bullinger, and Oecolampadius

  2. Reformation Preachers: Calvin

  3. Reformation Preachers: Beza

  4. Introduction to Puritan Preaching

  5. Puritan Preachers: Perkins

  6. Puritan Preachers: Rogers, Sibbes, and Preston

  7. The Westminster Directory and Preaching

  8. Puritan Preachers: Goodwin and Shepard

  9. Puritan Preachers: Bunyan

  10. Introduction to the Dutch Further Reformation

  11. Dutch Preachers: Teellinck, van Lodenstein, and à Brakel

  12. Dutch Reformed Preaching in America: Frelinghuysen

  13. Eighteenth-Century Preachers: Halyburton, Edwards, and Davies

  14. Nineteenth-Century Preachers: Alexander, M`Cheyne, and Ryle

  15. Twentieth-Century Preachers: Wisse and Lloyd-Jones

Part Three: Preaching Experientially Today

  1. Preaching with Balance

  2. Application Starts with the Preacher

  3. Effective Preaching about God and Man

  4. Preaching the Gospel to the Heart

  5. Preaching for Holiness


“A preacher who does not practice what he preaches is a hypocrite; a preacher who does not preach what he himself has practiced is a mere theorist. A good preacher gives to others the overflow of what he himself has taken in from God’s Word. Effective preaching is from heart to heart, as suggested by the subtitle of Joel Beeke’s Reformed Preaching. Preaching is more than simply a verbal book report; it is a God-ordained means of bringing God’s truth to bear on the hearts and in the experience of the hearers. Beeke effectively underscores this powerful function of preaching both with models from past preachers and clear instructions for modern preachers. Beeke’s passion for experiential preaching is obvious, exposing his heart to ours.”
Michael P. V. Barrett, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; author, Complete in Him and Love Divine and Unfailing

“It has been one of the great privileges of my life to teach homiletics alongside Joel Beeke at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary for the past ten years. I’ve not only witnessed his expertise and passion for the subject, but I’ve also seen and felt the ministry-transforming effects of this upon my own preaching, as well as upon hundreds of students from all over the world. It’s a joyful answer to prayer to see his lectures now in print for the benefit of thousands more preachers of the gospel.”
David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; author, Jesus on Every PageReset; and Exploring the Bible

“In this latest book, Joel Beeke warmly welcomes us into his pulpit, his study, and even the place of his private prayers. To accept his invitation is to discover what it means for a sermon to offer both light and heat, and to learn how to preach the gospel as food for the hungry rather than as dessert for the deserving. In Reformed Preaching, Beeke introduces favorite figures from church history to form a composite picture of the experiential expositor. Even experienced expositors will find much to learn in this book from both the author and his friends.”
Chad Van DixhoornProfessor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

Reformed Preaching is unique for its emphasis on learning to preach experientially from the Reformers and their theological successors through the centuries. Joel Beeke convincingly shows that Reformed preaching is doctrinally sound, profoundly personal, and effectively practical. Far from being a contemporary model, this work presents the preaching of the Reformation, which encompasses head, heart, and hands, as the enduring way to proclaim Scripture. This is a very foundational understanding of the Reformation impact on the history of the church.”
John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California; President, The Master's University and Seminary

About the Author

Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) has written over one hundred books. He is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as the editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, the editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, the president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society.