John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy, a biography of the great Baptist homiletician and educator, John Broadus, is a more than worthy addition to the already strong Studies in Baptist Life and Thought series. The book consists of a series of essays, edited by Dockery and Duke, on the life of Broadus. They consider the various aspects of his biography, of his magnum opus, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, of his preaching style, his emphases, and his character and work.
The overall effect of the work is to engender, at least within this reader, a profound respect for the strong piety, work ethic, sense of intellectual rigor and integrity, vision, and skills of John Broadus. I was particularly touched by his willingness to be creative and fresh in preaching without lapsing into faddish silliness or cheap tactics of entertainment. His strong emphasis on the need for ministers to read deeply, widely, and well struck me as admirable and encouraging. I was struck by the accounts of his humility, his prowess as a pulpiteer, and his keen mind. Furthermore, the stories of the beginnings of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the efforts of James P. Boyce, Broadus, and others to keep the institution alive and funded were fascinating.
I suppose above all else, I was particularly struck by the high esteem in which Broadus was held by his contemporaries. When he left his church to join the original faculty of Southern Seminary, for instance, the church where he was serving as pastor launched a letter of protest to the move, pleading with him to stay. I had never heard of such a thing. He also won the high esteem of his son-in-law (one of many interesting tidbits of which I was unaware!), the great Greek scholar A.T. Robertson.
As a pastor, this book strongly challenged me to consider afresh and anew my calling and my task. There are many examples of ministers worthy of emulation. Among them, near the top, I would now put John A. Broadus.