Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review – Persuasive Preaching: A Biblical and Practical Guide to the Effective Use of Persuasion by R. Larry Overstreet

This book is the ripe and delicious fruit of a well-crafted presentation of the need, value and practice of persuasive preaching. While it clearly is written for those who preach or studying to preach, I am sure it will be of immense value to anyone who is teaching the gospel in other modes.

Part of the well-crafted presentation is the structure of the book itself. There is both a one page Contents in Brief and a multipage contents in full that reminds me of many Puritan books I have read (e.g. Precious Remedies Against Satan’s devices  by Thomas Brooks– Banner of Truth edition). The conclusion to each chapter does a nice job of not only summarizing the chapter concisely, but tying the progression of the case he is making for persuasive preaching together.

Besides the many examples of different theories of persuasion in classical literature, he provides many biblical examples of those types. He adds the distinctively Christian element of dependence on the Holy Spirit for effectiveness of the sermon.

In Part 1 Overstreet discusses issues facing persuasive preaching, doing a nice job of setting the cultural context for the need of persuasive preaching today.

Five chapters in Part 2 do an excellent job of laying out the biblical support for persuasive preaching.

Structuring persuasive messages is the topic of Part 3. In the chapter detailing Motivated Sequence, I could not help but think of some of the methods taught today by Decker Communications (http://decker.com/) which I have used quite effectively in persuasive speeches.  The chapter on Cause Effect also sounded familiar. It reminded by of the Fallen Condition Focus mentioned in Brian Chapell’s book on Christ Centered Preaching which is an approach used much by the preacher at the church I attend and has proven fruitful in convicting and converting people, producing a very active congregation where most members are exercising their spiritual gifts in outreach to the community. This call to action is one of the major objectives of persuasive preaching.  This section also includes chapters on the cause-effect and refutation structured sermons.

Part 4 is a useful discussion of the pertinent applications in persuasive speaking, discussing persuasion verses manipulation, The Holy Spirit in Preaching and The Invitation.

In the Epilogue is a discussion of four speeches of Mosses in Deuteronomy illustrating his Pastor’s heart and his means of persuasion illustrating the principles outlined in the book.

The Appendixes contain helpful analysis of Greek words and a sample sermon.


I received this resource for free from Weaver Book Company via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.