I recently received this review copy of Amos Yong’s new book, The Kerygmatic Spirit: Apostolic Preaching in the 21st Century (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018). Besides its collection of 15 Yong sermons (preached mostly between 2014-17), several features make this volume both an essential homiletical resource for preachers in the key of Pentecost, and a germane catalyst towards a Pentecostal practical theology of preaching.
First, there’s Josh P.S. Samuel’s Introduction that examines how Yong’s preaching content and style “situates” within the Pentecostal tradition. Then there is Yong’s Epilogue that theologically maps forays towards a Pentecostal approach to preaching contextual to emerging 21st century challenges. There, I especially appreciate his discussion on preaching as “oral performance”, positing that apostolic preaching requires a thoroughly embodied delivery and aims towards the listener’s embodied experience and response to the Word. Interestingly, as Yong explains, rather than preparing a sermon manuscript, he generally only prepares an outline which he feels well enables his audience engagement while allowing for a measure of spontaneity. Of course, I suppose he is no doubt well stocked with amply prepared structures and themes to readily retrieve through the course of his deliveries. I have moreover been observing in the sermons read thus far, rhetorical devices here and there that probably help fuel his engaging deliveries.
Then along with his Afterword, there is Tony Richie’s helpful commentaries on each of Yong’s sermons, each discussing how Yong effectively translates his well-known theological themes and projects into congregational preaching that is both evangelistic and simply edifying at the grassroots level.
Finally, readers will find themselves more than nourished with homiletical inspiration, at each of these 15 wells of fresh spring water Yong has graciously dug for our refreshment on the way. Thus far I have only read the first three messages. And they are— good.
So, I just finished reading the third message titled, “The Lukan Commission,” which Yong preached at a multi-congregational Presbyterian church in March 2010. Though communicated in an easy-to-hear style, it is loaded with typical Yong themes of the Spirit and “im/migration,” something I deeply resonate with, since I too have much lived and experienced it. Yong thus speaks about “the Spirit witnessing . . . of a new world— a new world in which white and black and yellow . . . are able to experience the unity of Christ that does not cancel out the diversity of our colour.”