The Publishing Office of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), leadership development agency for the denomination, announced the release of a new book, “Preaching Methodist Theology & Biblical Truth: Classic Sermons of C. K. Barrett” edited by Ben Witherington III. The book introduces readers to Barrett, a masterful biblical scholar and gifted preacher who never lost touch with his Wesleyan heritage.
Witherington demonstrates the immense value for not only students of modern Methodism and homiletics but also for theologians and pastors who want to see how to interweave insightful biblical exposition and Wesleyan theology.
The sermons presented were primarily preached in British Methodist and university chapels between 1934 and 2009. The sermons reflect the labors of a world-renowned scholar with considerable homiletical skill and open a window on superior Methodist preaching. C. K. Barrett is in touch with the sermons of John Wesley and the hymns of Charles Wesley but also conversant with modern theology and biblical scholarship. Barrett’s unique blend of bible scholarship, Wesleyan heritage, and artful preaching is instructive and still needed in our church if we intend to fulfill our mission to transform the world.
Witherington, Jean R. Amos professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, is a member of the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland and an ordained pastor in The United Methodist Church.
Witherington has received endorsements from U.S. scholars and abroad. “I, like generations of preachers, have been tutored by C. K. Barrett, the biblical scholar who helped us into the biblical text by sharing his unending delight in the joys of scripture,” said Will Willimon, professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School and retired United Methodist bishop. “But until Ben Witherington, I did not know C. K. Barrett the preacher, even less his father, Fred. In this book of Barrett’s sermons Ben Witherington shows why he loves Barrett the preacher and how Barrett’s preaching can help us be contemporary servants of the Word. The sermons are disarmingly fresh, direct, and engaging, demonstrating how the biblical Word can speak here and now. What a delightful collection of great biblical preaching.”
David Bauer, Ralph Waldo Beeson Professor of Inductive Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, said, “At a time when a great gulf exists between serious biblical scholarship and most preaching, the sermons of C. K. Barrett—arguably the most significant New Testament scholar of the 20th century—offer an instructive and rewarding corrective. Barrett had a gift for drawing out the theological significance of passages so as to stimulate the intellect of the most sophisticated thinkers and at the same time to make the biblical truths interesting, understandable, and relevant to ordinary Christians. These sermons are pure gold.”
“C. K. Barrett’s sermons are the gospel in miniature. Wearing his scholarship lightly, Barrett confronts us here first and foremost with the person of Jesus. In simple, pithy prose, he subverts comfortable piety and conventional religion by evoking the disturbing voice of Jesus, and then leads us beyond that bracing encounter into the limitless love of God,” said John Barclay, Lightfoot Professor of Biblical Studies at Durham University in England. “These down-to-earth reflections are both personal and profoundly theological, and they stand the test of time. Barrett was a brilliant communicator of the gospel in the Methodist chapels of County Durham, but these selected sermons have the capacity to speak powerfully to many contexts today.”
Published by Wesley’s Foundery Books, an imprint of GBHEM, “Preaching Methodist Theology & Biblical Truth: Classic Sermons of C. K. Barrett” is available at Cokesbury.com, Upperroom.org and Amazon.com.
For more information about GBHEM’s Publishing Office, visit www.gbhem.org.
About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.