Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers

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Author - T. David Gordon

Why Johnny Can’t Preach looks at the problem of why preaching doesn’t have the effect upon people that it has in the past. It is an analysis of shifts in dominant media in the latter half of the twentieth century, and the effects of those shifts on our culture. Many of these changes have profound, and unfortunate, effects on preaching.

T. David Gordon has identified a problem, one that affects all preachers (indeed, all public speakers) and needs fixing. Our preaching is just not communicating properly anymore. Fortunately, Gordon not only explains the causes of this failure but also shows us how to make things better.

“No, it’s not just you. There’s a lot of disappointing preaching today and it’s not entirely due to departures from sound principles. It’s also affected by the media culture in which we live. While there are helpful studies of popular culture and important books on proper biblical interpretation and theology, this book does both. I couldn’t help but wince as I recognized myself in Gordon’s descriptions, but he writes so clearly and convincingly that I couldn’t help but be grateful.”
—MICHAEL HORTON, Westminster Seminary California

“An insightful diagnosis of a serious problem in the life of the church. For this we should be grateful, as we should for the way out of the crisis to which this book ably points.”
—DAVID F. WELLS, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“Adds more to the homiletical conversation than ten books twice its length. Dr. Gordon is saying things that no one else has said, perhaps because no one dares to. He brings two very important perspectives to bear on the serious business of preaching: finely tuned literary sensibilities and media ecology. Electronic media alter perception and dramatically transform the sensibilities of preachers and the rest of the culture. Gordon’s analysis offers us hope that Johnny can learn to preach well.”
—GREGORY EDWARD REYNOLDS, pastor, author of The Word Is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Preaching in the Electronic Age

T. David Gordon (MAR, ThM, Westminster Theological Seminary; PhD, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia) is professor of religion and Greek at Grove City College, where he has also taught in the humanities and media ecology.

112pp. Paperback.

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