Leeman, Jonathan. Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People. Moody: Chicago, 2011.
Concerning the Word of God in the context of the local church, Leeman says, “Picture it this way. The evangelist or the preacher opens his mouth and utters a word, God’s Word. But the Word doesn’t sound just once. It echoes or reverberates. 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 a metal ball in a pinball machine.” He goes on to say, “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.”
If this is the big picture of what a biblical church looks like, I want to be a part! But, first, we must know how to get there. This is exactly how this book on God’s Word can help us. It is extremely practical, telling us what we should “do.” From cover to cover, Leeman takes a look at theological and practical ways God’s Word establishes and grows the church. It is really pretty simple. According to Leeman, “The Word grows the church as unbelievers are saved and baptized into it, and then it grows church members in their life together.”
Laying a foundation, Leeman begins with the evangelist who delivers the Word, then moves to a theological foundation for the Word. Then, he proceeds to how the Word powerfully impacts the individual’s heart and gathers God’s people in the local church. Next, he deals with how the sermon exposes and confronts sin, as well as announces the good news that Christ has overcome sin. Then, he proceeds with 3 practical chapters that deal specifically with music, prayer, and discipleship. Finally, he considers the church’s mission.
As I read the book, I found myself in full agreement with Leeman’s premise, namely that God’s Word, working through God’s Spirit, is God’s primary instrument for growing God’s church. Also, his applications resounded with me. He has a way of putting feet to a theology of God’s Word in a way that is not too difficult. I hope that many Christians read this book and take it to heart.