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As One Without Authority [Paperback]

By Fred B. Craddock (Author)
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Item description for As One Without Authority by Fred B. Craddock...

"Remarkably, "As One Without Authority" remains today as fresh and provocative as ever, stimulating preachers to rethink structure, movement, image, and suspense in sermons".--Thomas G. Long, Chandler School of Theology

Publishers Description
This update of Craddock's original work on inductive preaching remains one of the most important contributions to homiletic scholarship. Revised with three new sermons, inclusive language, and NRSV texts, it is still as fresh and provocative as ever.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Christian Board of Publication
Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2001
Publisher   Christian Board of Publication
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0827200269  
ISBN13  9780827200265  

Availability  57 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2016 07:53.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Fred B. Craddock

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Fred Craddock is Bandy Distinguished Professor of Preaching and New Testament, emeritus, at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and is minister emeritus of Cherry Log Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is a sought-after lecturer, an author of several books, and a captivating storyteller.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Preaching
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Sermons

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Reviews - What do customers think about As One Without Authority?

Craddock misses the boat  Dec 21, 2007
Craddock's work remains a popular volume on preaching in many evangelical circles. One understands his desire to minister to the present generation with the Word of God by evaluating the current condition of American pulpits. Fewer and fewer attend church with each passing generation, and Craddock is right to look primarily at those who are responsible for shepherding the flocks.

While Craddock nobly seeks to make the sermons more understandable to the modern culture, he goes too far in looking first to the culture to determine the content of the sermon itself. He notes of a "current sag in the pulpit [which] is the loss of certainty and the increase of tentativeness on the part of the preacher" (11). With the culture shying away from any perceived authoritative figure, preachers tend to compensate so as not to offend. This reliance on the congregation's perception of the sermon is overstated.

Rather, Craddock believes the key to contemporary preaching is for sermons to cease being exclusively one-sided. He believes the congregation should have some part in the preaching process. While preaching in some degree is a community experience, boundaries do exist --- yet Craddock seeks to move the boundary markers more toward the congregation and away from exclusively the preacher. "Without question, preaching increases in power when it is dialogical, when speaker and listener share in the proclamation of the Word" (18). "Without question"?

Secondly, the preacher will find value in certain aspects of Craddock's model of inductive preaching. Rather than starting with a particular truth and moving to particular applications (deduction), Craddock believes that starting with the listeners' experiences and moving them to the biblical propositions would reach more people, especially those in Western culture. He notes:

"Anyone who preaches deductively from an authoritative stance probably finds that shared experiences in the course of service as pastor, counselor, teacher, and friend tend to erode the image of authority. Such preachers want protecting distance, not over exposure. However, these common experiences, provided they are meaningful in nature and are reflected on with insight and judgment, are for the inductive method essential to the preaching experience" (49).

Yet, Craddock implies that a preacher cannot be transparent in relating to his parishioners' experiences, yet still relay propositional truth. The preacher is not the ultimate authority, but what authority he has is found in the God-given Scriptures from whom that authority derives.

He conveys that the listener is the ultimate arbiter of whether a sermon is of value or not. This mindset is troublesome. For instance, in the same chapter as the quote from above, he gives a reason for stressing inductive preaching: "If it is done well, one often need not make the applications of the conclusion to the lives of the hearers. If they have made the trip, it is their conclusion, and the implication for their own situations is not only clear but personally inescapable" (48-49). While he rightly presents the fact that the ultimate responsibility for one's Christian walk lies not with the minister but with the listener, his rationale falls apart. He understands how Western/American culture has difficulty in thinking in a Christian worldview in which propositional truths are processed (implying they need help in this area), he then questions why a minister would want to come along and concretely and objectively help them in properly applying the Word to their lives.

Though Western culture is most certainly image-driven rather than word-driven, this trend is not necessarily a good trend that preachers should feed. Craddock would do well to remember the doctrine of fallen humanity. The very members of his audience look through the lenses of their own depravity. The experiences and images are quite subjective, and therefore tinged by sin and self. Deductive preaching that begins with the clear, objective propositional truths of Scripture that serve as anchors in the midst of the minds of cultural subjectivity.

Many pastors would take offense to a particular statement that truly sums up Craddock's not-so-veiled attempt to decry the deductive method of preaching, he propounds that preachers lack academic respectability because of their use of this method in the modern and postmodern age. While he does not advocate a speech teacher to teach preaching in seminaries, he continues:

"And, of course, when preaching is taught by a pastor, retired or active, the course suffers, deservedly or not, from that particular brand of harsh laughter reserved by students and faculty for that which lacks academic respectability. As a natural consequence, preaching continues for another generation as 'a marginal annoyance on the record of a scientific age'" (5).

The general nature in which Craddock refers to the majority of preachers does not help his credibility in addressing the so-called ills of deductive preaching. While his concerns may have some legitimacy, to paint such a broad brush stroke over pulpits and seminaries alike is irresponsible. The "thin diet of fond memories" (4) in which he accuses the church of living in perpetuating this method of preaching may well continue for a reason.

Craddock's propensity to direct intentionally the book toward the female minister is particularly disturbing. One could forgive this indiscretion if he provided more balance --- yet he exclusively refers to the ministers that he describes with the feminine gender. Given how this book seeks to reach the broadest base of ministers and lay leaders possible, Craddock conveys an agenda which seems more reactionary to conservative evangelicalism which clearly (and biblically) holds to male spiritual leaders in favor of a more liberal mindset in addressing and acknowledging only female ministers. While many in various evangelical circles laud this book (even desiring a second edition), he loses a major marketing base by such a transparent and disappointing agenda that distracts from the message he wishes to convey.


Regardless of the reception of this book both at the time of its original publication and now, I could not recommend this book to fellow preachers. If I did, I would only recommend this book to show the problematic nature of listener-oriented, exclusively inductive preaching.

For a more balanced work, I would recommend Preaching with Bold Assurance by Hershael York and Bert Decker. This work seeks to help the preacher with engaging exposition which seeks not only to touch the listeners' minds but also to touch their hearts as well. Craddock laments that not enough preaching is relevant for audiences, but blames deductive preaching. Deductive preaching need not be irrelevant preaching. York's book clearly demonstrates this.
Craddock's New Take on Homiletics  Apr 2, 2007
Preachers for years had been drilled in relaying an authoritarian three thesis points taken from the biblical text and then encouraged to finish off the oration with a poem/ hymn/ story as illustration. Craddock completely turned the sermon "event" on its head. It now seemed the whole sermon was story, with a quick thesis summary "gotcha" at the end. By the use of "induction," that is reflecting upon life, experience and the daily grind, as opposed to "deduction" -- "Thus saith, the Lord!" Craddock single-handedly reinvented the homiletical wheel. This is the book that started it all in the early 1970's. While not without some minor flaws--who among us can do anything like Craddock can? Still one of those groundbreaking, epoch making books after all of these years. We're still indebted to Craddock even now for inspiring us to think about the sermon in a different light.
Laying the foundation for inductive preaching  Jul 1, 2003
Fred Craddock, one of the great preachers of the past 50 years, is famous for his inductive style of preaching. Instead of the rigid, deductive, traditional three-point sermon, this book lays the groundwork for a natural, narrative style that involves the congregation, and takes seriously their ability to draw their own conclusions, thereby "finishing" the sermon themselves.

I actually read an older edition (the 3rd edition) than what is available now, so I don't know if any of it was revised, but what I read seemed heavily weighted toward the theoretical. (For the practical, that's apparently covered in Craddock's textbook "Preaching", which I own and will be reading soon.) Inductive preaching is not easy. It takes hard work, and even with that, can anyone do it as well the master (speaking of Fred, not Jesus here!!)? Of course, being a proponent of a certain approach means that it sometimes comes off as the only approach worth taking, which isn't necessarily true. At the church I attend, the pastor preaches a deductive, topical style sermon with points and subdivisions, even handing out an outline with blanks in it for the congregation to fill in, and the people like it that way. I wish, just once, he'd attempt an inductive sermon! Fred Craddock could tell him how.

Deduction, Move Aside.  Aug 29, 2002
Times change. Authoritarianist preaching can no longer survive. The preacher has been pulled down to the same level as the listeners, only to realize that he was never above them in the first place. Sermons preached in the imperative voice, filled with dos and donts, according to Craddock, won't cut it anymore. Craddock presents inductive sermons as a way of taking the listeners on a journey, a journey in which they discover the conclusion for themselves. Instead of going into the cave, finding gold, and bringing it out to spoon feed the congregation, the preacher must take his listeners with him into the cave and help them find the gold themselves. This is what Craddock calls "inductive movement."

The implications of the above basic thesis are developed in chapters dealing with imagination, unity, interpretation, and structure. Craddock argues for concreteness, single themes, dialogical interpretation, and structure based on movement like a story.

My only critiques are as follows: 1) Almost everything Craddock says was already said years ago by H. Grady Davis in "Design for Preaching." 2) While Craddock is a great writer, and uses concrete images, he is not very good at generalizing his points. Although leaving room for the interpretation of the reader is right and good, he goes so far as to make his themes unclear at times.

As One Who Changed The Face of Preaching  Dec 2, 2001
Fred B. Craddock is one consumate preacher of the Gospel and one committed student of the Gospels. Whenever one of his students in the quarterly Monday Morning class at the Cherrylog Christian Church asks about his style, Dr. Craddock says, "I am known as a narrative preacher, but that's not the whole story..." He often follows that with his own definition of "narrative preacher." For every Monday there are invitations sent to regulars and there will be 30-40 present for the 3 hour session and lunch.

His chosen topic usually comes around to his humorous approach into using "inductive methods" and results of opening-up the text into the context of everyday life experiences. When he has come to the point of his lecture for questions, they are asked from every table in the room--often from the mouths of the feminine half of students. His comments and stories are like the gems and jewels from an unopened treasure chest. His creatively authentic and textually authoritative suggestions are received gladly and gratefully.

This reprinted treasure becomes a continuing example and stable ingredient for all students of preaching. It is the composite we needed and hoped for, out of his lengthy practice of preaching the Gospel. His footnotes are more numerous than any of his commentaries, such as Luke. He has maintained original footnotes of sources that go back to Thomas de Quincey of 1882. They also include Barth, Bonhoeffer, Bultmann, Ebeling, Max Picard, Alfred North Whitehead, even Igor Stravinsky. What a Scholar! No wonder his teaching has changed the face of preaching!

Nobody worth their salt as preacher/teacher should be without! Fred W Hood, Retired Chaplain, Fayetteville, GA (USA)


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