The Imperative of Preaching

A Theology of Sacred Rhetoric

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Weight 0.84 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.4 × .5 in
ISBN 9781848716650

Preaching & Teaching



Original Pub Date


Banner Pub Date

Feb 1, 2016



Page Count


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‘What constitutes effective and powerful preaching? If we believe that prayer-soaked biblical preaching “in demonstration of the spirit and of power” (1 Cor.2:4) is the grand battering-ram for the demolishing of the bastions of ignorance and vice, and if we believe such preaching to be the unrivaled means ordained of God for the conversion and edification of men, then careful attention must be given to the biblical answer to the question, “what constitutes effective preaching and why is it so?”

Dr. Carrick has done great service to those of us who continually wrestle with this crucial question. in The Imperative of Preaching He approaches the Scriptures with the conviction that they are a self-interpreting body of special revelation, and that within that revelation there is clearly seen the indicative-imperative pattern of communication. He also observes the presence of the categories described as exclamative and interrogative.

It is my prayer that these pages will be read and assimilated, and the principles articulated then implemented by every preacher who has a passion to increase his effectiveness in that noblest of all callings, to “preach the Word”.’ — ALBERT N. MARTIN

Book Description

Believing that preaching remains of vital importance today, John Carrick argues that its effectiveness can be greatly enhanced if preachers make use of the patterns of communication laid down by God in Scripture for their instruction. He sees in the Bible a sacred rhetoric which the apostles and prophets, and Christ himself, used to awaken, move and persuade their hearers. While depending on the power of the Spirit, the preacher should not neglect any help which Scripture affords.

Sacred rhetoric is based essentially on statements and commands (called in grammar the indicative and the imperative), which, together with exclamations and questions, are of immense significance in the preaching of the Word.

Abundant examples from Scripture and from the preaching of such men as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Samuel Davies, Asahel Nettleton and Martyn Lloyd-Jones, demonstrate Carrick’s case in The Imperative of Preaching.

Insisting on the critical importance of applying, as well as explaining, the truth of Scripture, Carrick provides an effective critique of redemptive-historical preaching, arguing
that this approach seriously neglects the application of the Word of God.


Table of Contents Expand ↓

Introduction 1
The Indicative 7
The Exclamative 30
The Interrogative 56
The Imperative – Part 1 82
The Imperative – Part 2 108
Conclusion 147
Additional Illustrations of the Exclamative 152
Additional Illustrations of the Interrogative 163
Additional Illustrations of the Imperative 176
  Bibliography 188
  Index 198


1 testimonial for The Imperative of Preaching

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  1. Joshua J. Mills

    This is an excellent book. Every preacher would do well to read this work. It is rare to find a stirring and compelling book on the theology of sacred rhetoric. Carrick does an excellent job showing his reader that the effectiveness of his preaching can be greatly enhanced if he makes use of the patterns of communication laid down by God in Scripture for their instruction. As you read this book, you will find that it is rich in examples and practical in application. So, read this work!

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