Jonathan Leeman, Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People, IX Marks (Chicago: Moody, 2011), 208pp., ISBN 9780802422996.
It’s a measure of my anticipation that I’ve had this book on preorder for a few weeks now. Meanwhile, I’ve had to make do with the sample Introduction to it, a conversation between the author and Trevin Wax, and a review by Tim Challies. (See also here for more information and links.)
From what I’ve seen so far, I hope it will inspire as well as help empower Christians and church leaders to make the word of God more central in our lives and at the heart of church life and ministry than it might otherwise be.
As Leeman says in his Introduction to the book, riffing on Jesus’ exhortation to Martha (Luke 10:39-41):
‘One thing is necessary in our churches – hearing God’s Word through preaching, reading, singing, and praying’ (22).
I was slightly fearful that Leeman’s discussion would remain focused on the significance of Scripture for the gathered worship and ministry of the church (crucial though that is), without saying much about how it impacts and shapes God’s people as they are ‘scattered’ through the week; but it looks as if he is concerned about too:
‘This book... hopes to illustrate that the “ministry of the Word” indeed begins in the pulpit, but then must continue through the life of the church as members echo God’s Word back and forth to one another’ (24).
Here’s where the title – Reverberation – comes in:
‘The Word reverberates, as in an echo chamber. In a real echo chamber, sound reverberates off walls. In the church, it’s the hearts of people that both absorb and project the sounds of His effectual Word... It reverberates through the church’s music and prayers. It reverberates through the conversations between elders and members, members and guests, older Christians and younger ones. God’s words bounce around the life of the church, like the metal ball in a pinball machine’ (24-25).
And, hopefully, in such a way that it doesn’t remain an internal church conversation...
‘But the reverberating words shouldn’t stop there. The church building doors should open and God’s words should echo out the doors, down the street, and into the members’ homes and workplaces. The reverberations of sound that began in the pulpit should eventually be bouncing off the walls in dining rooms, kitchens, and children’s bedrooms; off gymnasium walls, cubicle dividers, and the insides of city bus windows; through e-mails, text messages, and Internet pages’ (25).