It has never been easy to preach about the cross and resurrection of Jesus, but difficulties today are particularly challenging. Hearers ask tough questions of the church and the Christian faith, and they are not satisfied by formulaic answers. People are often suspicious of doctrine and are attracted to a broad but vague or pluralistic spirituality rather than the classical claims of Christianity.
In this climate, preachers often see preaching on the central events of the Christian story, the crucifixion and resurrection, as more of a problem than a possibility, more of a burden than a joy. They wonder not only how to preach the "old, old story" of cross and resurrection but whether they should preach these themes at all.
This book addresses these concerns and shows preachers how to preach the cross and resurrection in fresh, culturally relevant ways that deepen Christian discipleship. Each chapter shows the relevance of preaching the cross for addressing a particular congregational concern. What has ironically become a stumbling block in the pulpit, the stone that preachers often reject--preaching on the cross and resurrection of Jesus--can serve as the cornerstone for building up the congregation for discipleship in our world.
"Even though Good Friday and Easter are among Christianity's holiest days, many preachers secretly approach them with dread. They can seem like rooms in an old, darkened house filled with the faith's most vexing problems and controversies: debates over atonement theories, dignity-denying views of sacrifice, misunderstandings of bodily resurrection, and more. In this fine book, Joni Sancken pulls back the drapes and opens up all the windows, filling the house with light and air. She faces all of the challenges of preaching on the cross and resurrection of Jesus with generosity, theological wisdom, and practical insight. Preachers who read this book will not only be informed; they will find themselves renewed and eager to proclaim the Good Friday/Easter gospel."
--Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Emeritus, Candler School of Theology
"Homiletician Joni Sancken ushers preachers to the heart of the gospel beating at the foot of the cross and outside the empty tomb of the resurrection. This is a straightforward, courageous guide that will help readers no longer stumble over the cross or stutter when speaking of the resurrection. Rather, it will position one to stand firmly on the solid rock to proclaim Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. I'm so glad I stumbled across this book!"
--Luke A. Powery, Dean of Duke Chapel, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Duke University
"Dr. Joni Sancken has written a marvelous book that preachers of the gospel need to read. <i>Stumbling Over the Cross</i> considers cross and resurrection as indispensable lenses for preaching practice today. In startling ways, Sancken also takes the cross into interreligious contexts where its particularity becomes a means for respectful and differentiated engagement with 'others.' Preachers will find engaging ways of naming cross and resurrection in a pluralistic age."
--David Schnasa Jacobsen, Boston University School of Theology
"Joni Sancken leads preachers through theological terrain with clarity, insight, and wisdom, reviewing some of the most recent scholarly literature on Christology, identifying the resistance some preachers have to preaching the resurrection, and pointing to fresh opportunities that await preachers if they do."
--Paul Scott Wilson, Professor of Homiletics, Emmanuel College, Toronto
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