All true expository preachers want to experience the illumination of the Scripture in their hearts when they study and preach. Sadly, today’s preaching culture promotes an imbalance in the discussion of the Spirit’s role in preaching at a time when so many preachers err on the sides either of mysticism or of pragmatism.
In this Bible-soaked study, Jeffrey Crotts defines and applies the seemingly forgotten doctrine of illumination. He shows that the Bible is clear that Spirit-filled illuminated preaching takes place in two parts: as the preacher studies and meditates upon his biblical text, resulting in personal convictions, and as he then conveys these truths to his hearers, trusting that the Spirit of God will likewise illumine their hearts. With the inclusion of testimonies of men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Owen, and Jonathan Edwards, this book provides a synthesized biblical theology of illumination, focusing on four main categories found in 2 Corinthians 4:1–6: condemnation, communication, conversion, and convictions.
Preachers who long for illumination during their personal study and preaching will be enriched as they read and apply this scholarly yet pastoral work on the priceless doctrine we call illumination.
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“Facts inform but only the Spirit transforms, and that is what is missing when the Spirit’s illumination is not present.” (Page 37)
“he is speaking of what a person in the deepest part of his or her being now affirms as unequivocally true. This” (Page 19)
“It is not how many times you go through the Word, but how many times the Word goes through you” (Page 12)
“life-change for the hearer is not won and lost by the preacher’s performance” (Page 37)
“God is the one who saves, and the Spirit of God did his work” (Page 11)
Jeff Crotts reminds us all that the illumination of the Spirit is one of the most liberating and empowering elements of preaching—for pastor and congregant alike. This book, full of biblical insight, historical wisdom, and pastoral warmth, is for all of those clay jars who, week in and week out, proclaim the treasure of the gospel. Here’s a preaching manual that goes beneath the surface and speaks straight to the heart.
—Stephen J. Nichols, research professor of Christianity and culture, Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
A commendable balance characterizes the author’s efforts and product. By biblically navigating the channel between the reefs of merely academic labors and the shoals of existential subjectivism, he allows the scriptural data to pilot his ship named “Illumination” to a safe harbor.
—George J. Zemek, ThD, academic dean, The Expositors Seminary, Jupiter, Florida