Coming Soon, The Four Voices of Preaching: Communicating Faith in a Connected World, by Robert Stephen Reid

The Four Voices of Preaching: Communicating Faith in a Connected World

Available March 2024

Author: Robert Stephen Reid

ISBN paperback: TBA

ISBN ebook: TBA


Total Pages: 250

Price: $25.00

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Sermons preached before a congregation are only one way people hear messages of faith. Whether the listener is seated in a pew or listening to a podcast or a book about faith, most of the faith-talk people hear is shaped by a speaker’s faith sensibility. And those faith sensibilities can generally be distinguished as four distinctly different “voices” of preaching. Understanding what these voices are, how they differ in purpose as well as design, and how excellence in each voice can make for greater authenticity in communicating faith is what this book is about. The author canvases the tradition of American preaching called homiletics by drawing together religious, social, and cultural concerns that have given birth to each new North American way of preaching about faith in God. The book provides a map of classic and contemporary homileticians and what their understanding looks like in communication practice. It is a book about why preaching and teaching the Gospel matters in whatever form it takes. It is a book for those who need a map.


“Whether we call it a sermon, homily, or message, a particular person at a particular time crafts a message for particular people in time. Drawing on the rich resources of rhetoric, sociology an communication studies, Reid helps preachers identify their understanding of who they are in the pulpit and what the goal is of that sermon/homily/message. He reminds us that one size does not fit all. There is not one kind of sermon, not one approach, not one voice. Given that challenge, however, preachers must reflect upon and discern who they are, who their community expects them to bem and who God would have them be. The Four Voices of Preaching is a wonderful resource for preachers as they explore these important questions,”

Lucy Lind Hogan, Wesley Theological Seminary

The Four Voices of Preaching provides a smart new way of thinking about the relationship that exists between preachers and listeners. Reid shows how preachers adopt voices that call forth responsive identities from listeners. The book significantly advances our understanding of Voice in homiletics today.”

John S. McClure, Vanderbilt Divinity School

“Reid is a masterful thinker who has honed his craft to perfection in this volume, The Four Voices of Preaching is more than a service to seasoned preachers—it is the first book for all reading in homiletics and the map to an authentic voice.”

David Fleer, Lipscomb University

“In this provocative book, creative and respected scholar of preaching Robert Reid identifies four voices through which preachers tend to speak—the teaching voice, the encouraging voice, the sage voice, and the testifying voice. In engaging prose, the author describes each approach and offers sample sermons. Readers will come away from this book better able to identify their own primary voice. Few books on preaching combine so deftly important theoretical ideas with practical implications.”

Ronald J. Allen, Christian Theological Seminary

“Robert Reid has assembled a matrix of contemporary Christian voices while handily employing the rhetorical tradition, social theory, communication studies diverse theological perspectives, modern and contemporary hermeneutics, and recent homiletic method. The Four Voices of Preaching offers the preacher a means for mapping contemporary homiletics and for locating herself or himself within the twenty-first century matrix. Moreover, the author provides those of us called to preach with specific criteria that constitute authenticity within our dominant preaching voice. Most commendably, Robert Reid treats each of the four voices with a hermeneutic of hospitality, offering helpful insight and criticism while encouraging excellence within each domain, The Four Voices of Preaching is an important contribution to contemporary homiletics.

Richard Eslinger, United Theological Seminary

“Robert Reid’s rhetorical perspective maps out American preaching in most stimulating way. By analyzing the preacher’s cultural consciousness, he identifies a provocative matrix of possibilities: Teaching, Encouraging, Sage, and Testifying Voices. With deft historical insights he also locates all the big names in contemporary homiletics on his map. I have long championed different kinds of preaching and this well-researched book adds a whole new dimension in understanding their differences.

Michael Quicke, Northern Seminary

Author Bio

Robert Stephen Reid (PhD, University of Washington) is Emeritus Professor of Communication at the University of Dubuque and has recently served as homiletics faculty for the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry and for Fuller Theological Seminary, Northwest. Recent publications include “The Leave-Taking Sermon: Mark Driscoll and the Challenge of Authenticity,” in Rhetoric of the Protestant Sermon in America; and “Preaching in the Baptist Theological Family,” in Preaching the Manifold Grace of God: Theologies of Preaching in Historical Theological Families, Vol. 1. Bob and his spouse Barbara live near Seattle, WA.