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Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life [Paperback]

By Robert Smith, Jr. (Author) & James Earl Massey (Foreword by)
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Item description for Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life by Robert Smith, Jr. & James Earl Massey...

With enthusiasm and intelligence, professor Robert Smith steps up the interest in doctrinal preaching and teaching with Doctrine That Dances.    

Publishers Description
"Preaching" magazine's 2008 Book of the Year The theme of doctrinal preaching and teaching comes to life through the enthusiastic and inspired writing of professor Robert Smith in "Doctrine That Dances." Advance Praise: "At a time when so much of the conversation on preaching deals with presentation, Robert Smith has reminded us that effective teaching must also take the theological task seriously. He makes his case so well that his book, "Doctrine that Dances," is our Preaching Book of the Year." Michael Duduit, editor, "Preaching" magazine
"Away with dull doctrinal sermons Using the metaphor of music, the author shows us how to blend cogitation and celebration--mind and heart--in our preaching of Bible doctrine. You can benefit from his wide knowledge and experience in traditional western homiletics as well as African American preaching. We have much to learn from each other, and this book is a valuable contribution to the current conversation." Warren W. Wiersbe, former pastor of Moody Church, general director of Back to the Bible, and coauthor of "Preaching in Black & White"
"A masterful preacher and teacher himself, Smith provides direction for students, young pastors and veteran preachers alike. Pulpits across the land will be strengthened as preachers implement the guidance offered in this volume. "Doctrine That Dances" will become mandatory reading for a new generation of preachers. It is a joy to recommend this marvelous work."
David Dockery, president, Union University
"Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. is one of the most compelling voices in American preaching today . . . "Doctrine That Dances" describes the preacher's task in a way that is at once personal, passionate, and provocative. This book describes the kind of preaching that is at the heart of the awakening that must come."
Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School and a senior editor at "Christianity Today"

Awards and Recognitions
Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life by Robert Smith, Jr. & James Earl Massey has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Preaching Book of the Year - 2011 Winner - Book of the Year category

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Item Specifications...

Studio: B&H Academic
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.58"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2008
Publisher   Broadman And Holman
ISBN  0805446842  
ISBN13  9780805446845  

Availability  6 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 08:16.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Robert Smith, Jr. & James Earl Massey

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Smith is professor of Christian preaching at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where he received the Teacher of the Year award in 2005. His research interests include the place of passion in preaching, the literary history of African American preaching, Christological preaching, and theologies of preaching. Smith and his wife have four children.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Pastoral Counseling
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Preaching

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Doctrine That Dances?

Absolutely Wonderful  Dec 30, 2009
This is a solid book about sermon preparation, perspective and presentation. Dr. Smith masterfully explains the importance of exegetical work in sermon preparation and how it undergirds the gospel message. This book is a must have for preachers.
Preaching that makes a difference  Aug 31, 2008
This book explains or attempt to explain what happens between the preacher and the pulpit!
Excellent resource for preachers who are in the dumps and preach boring sermons!  Aug 10, 2008
While a sermon is NOT supposed to be an entertainment, it IS supposed to rouse the listeners to faith, action, and hope. If your preaching is lacking, Dr. Smith has a LOT of help for you.

He is one of my favorite preachers, by a LONG shot. I listen to EVERY sermon he preaches that I can find. His sermons are absolutely LOADED with good theology (and I don't mean "purpose driven drivel")--- it is loaded with theology put to work!

Smith has a magical way with analogies, metaphors, and imagination that most of us don't quite get. I am convinced that PROPER creativity is CAUGHT as much as it is TAUGHT--- read this book and let Smith's logic and ingenuity sink in.
Not just for preachers  May 30, 2008
This book is intriguing and a good reference for anyone who speaks or teaches as part of a Christian ministry. Thumbs up!!
Clear & Engaging...Recommended for Preachers  Mar 31, 2008
Every now and then you need to be made to feel uncomfortable. Perhaps there are few ways to make people fee more uncomfortable than to talk to them about them public speaking or dancing. Robert Smith attempts to combine both of these uncomfortable realities into a helpful metaphor for biblical preaching.

Robert Smith is professor of Christian preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to this, he was a professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Right off the bat you have got to respect Smith's gutsy-ness to link the sacred act of preaching to a metaphor such as dancing. Remember, Smith is from a Baptist institution. I can't wait for his next book, perhaps Fermenting Truth: A Pastor's Guide to a Gloriously Intoxicating Ministry

Doctrine that Dances is primarily a book for preachers. Smith employs two main metaphors throughout.

The first is that the preacher is to be a `doxological dancer'. That is to say he is to be not just mentally engaged with the passage but also emotionally engaged. Smith warns against pastors spending time in the study of the word but neglecting their due time under the knife, in surgery, so to speak.

The second metaphor is that the preacher is to be an `exegetical escort'. He is to use the text to bring people into the presence of God. Here is a definition from Smith of such doctrinal preaching:


My definition of doctrinal preaching emphasizes its underlying aim: transformation through Christ. I state that doctrinal preaching is the escorting of the hearers into the presence of God for the purpose of transformation. I contend that the task of the doctrinal preacher is to serve as an escort who ushers the hearer into the presence of God through the proper and precise expounding of the Word of God. When this is done, the efforts of the doctrinal preachers have reached their limits because they cannot transform the hearer. The hearer is left in the presence of the only One who can transform a human soul--Christ.


Some may think that Smith is just being too cute with these metaphors and it is overkill. I'll be honest, I thought the same thing for the first 30 or so pages. But Smith pulls it off. He keeps emphasizing the metaphors and developing them within the context of pastoral ministry. When you finish the book I trust you'll agree that you have been served well by a man who wants to see God glorified and people transformed (including the preacher) by the faithful study and proclamation of the Word of God.

The book is written in a very engaging style. Smith is very culturally relevant (a good model for preachers) and writes with an eye toward the end goal (transformation). He also recognizes the negative stigma of doctrinal preaching, that it is boring. However, he doesn't flinch; his charge is for men to not make the glorious truth of Scripture boring but rather to be affected by this truth and then preach as a man who has been so affected.

I think Smith does a great job balancing the oft distorted poles of emotion and content. Too often men compromise one for the other and sadly the casualties are in the pews.

Smith writes:

The preachers are simultaneously exegetical escorts and doxological dancers as they respond respectively to the substance of the Word of God within a style that is unique to their own personality yet reflective of an enthusiastic and passionate delivery. Doctrinal preaching includes both the exegetical escorting of the hearer and the doxological dancing of the preacher as the preacher ushers the hearer into the presence of God for the purpose of transformation. The preacher, who prior to the preaching moment has been transformed and who dances in the delivery of the message, expects the hearers also to be doxologically responsive to the Word of God because to the transformative moment. The doxological response in the preaching and hearing of the Word of God does not enter the sermon in its conclusion; rather, it begins the sermon in its introduction and resounds throughout the message.

Throughout the book Smith quotes from people that I did not expect. I wonder as to why he would repeatedly quote Harry Emerson Fosdick, as well as Karl Barth, and St. Francis of Assisi. I did not find their quotes to add significant value to the point he was making and without a disclaimer would be concerned about folks embracing the rest of their teachings within such a context. This however, would not cause me to not recommend this book to preachers.

Finally, there is a continued reference to American slavery, African American preaching and the development of Christianity within the early African-American community. I had found this curious throughout the first 2/3 of the book until I realized the Smith himself was an African-American. This disclosure by Smith was helpful.

Smith has a wide potential readership, the Baptist community (both Reformed and Arminian), the African-American Community, and the rest of evangelicalism. Each area needs to be reminded of the call to preach the word faithfully and passionately for the glory of God and the transformation of people. May God be pleased to use it to this end.

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