NOTE: This book just came off the press (March 2013) and was on sale and promoted widely during Shepherd’s Conference! I thought it would be timely to put up this review.
This was a very edifying read; one ought to purchase it for their pastor! The book makes the case that Luther must be understood as a preacher before all other roles that he had, whether it’s a theologian, professor or writer. I learned that Luther zeal for preaching was done while he was doing everything else in ministry and on any given Sunday he preached three to four sermons with the first service beginning at at 5 AM! He would preach a sermon every two days. While I have enjoyed other biographies on Luther in the past (see for instance, this recent post), what makes this particular book unique is that this book on Martin Luther as a preacher is written by Steven Lawson who is himself a powerful and passionate preacher. There’s nothing like a good preacher having the insight on another famous preacher. Lawson is not only a preacher but he has proven himself in the past to be a capable writer especially in the area of the history of preaching and this work doesn’t disappoint. For a work in which the body comes in at 122 pages, Lawson’s historical leg work is amazing with 324 footnotes total. The sources he cites indicate his familiarity with both secondary sources and English translation of primary sources on Luther. And he’s able to do this without making the book feel boring. On the contrary, reading the book made me felt passionate about preaching especially when I got to chapter five on Luther’s passionate delivery in the pulpit. I couldn’t go to sleep until after three in the morning because I wanted to preach God’s Word as a result of reading this book! I am a firm believer that true Christ-centered preaching that’s Biblically driven can’t be delivered as a mono-tone lecture–one must internalize the Word of God and let the Word set you ablaze with a conviction of it’s truth and power. I highly recommend the book for all readers.