The Journey and Promise of African American Preaching


“This book immerses readers in a sophisticated, multivoiced soundtrack. Kenyatta Gilbert persuasively calls for ministers to preach in three voices—prophet, priest, and sage. He also amplifies keynotes from other disciplines such as practical theology, cultural studies, and pedagogy. As the Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing.’ After hearing this book, your faith in preaching will be renewed.”

Brad R. Braxton, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, McCormick Theological Seminary

“Kenyatta Gilbert gives us in these pages both a remarkably broad historical view of the development of black preaching in North America and an incisive diagnosis of the challenges that preachers within and beyond the African-American church must meet today. Reaching into the crucible of African-American history and the preaching it evoked, Gilbert crafts a ‘trivocal’ approach to preaching that incorporates three distinctive accents of the black pulpit: the prophetic, sagely, and priestly voices. One can hardly imagine a better introduction—historical and theological, contextually alert andpractical—to the deep wisdom to be discovered, or rediscovered, in African-American preaching traditions. Any preacher, novice or veteran, will turn from these pages toward the pulpit to speak timely justice, relevant wisdom, and sustaining hope.”

Sally A. Brown, Elizabeth M. Engle Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship,
Princeton Theological Seminary

“Finally, something really fresh on African American preaching! Especially relevant for today is Gilbert’s discussion on the seven personas of African American preachers. This will definitely be one of the preaching books discussed by homileticians in 2011 and 2012.”

Martha Simmons, Co-Editor, Preaching With Sacred Fire: African American Sermonsfrom 1750 to the Present, Creator,The African American Lectionary

“For the seminarian, pastor, and academic this deeply moving appeal for more faithful preaching in America could not have been more timely. Kenyatta Gilbert demonstrates why he is one of the brightest and most creative homiletical minds of his generation.”

DeForest Blake “Buster” Soaries, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Author of dFree: Breaking Free from Financial Slavery

“In The Journey and Promise of African American Preaching Kenyatta Gilbert has offered a scholarly, personal, thought-provoking and practical guide to the best practices in black preaching. The working preacher will find this model both a challenge and resource for promoting balance between the prophet, priest, and sage.”

Leslie D. Callahan, Senior Pastor, St. Paul Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA

“Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert’s book, The Journey and Promise of African American Preaching, has afforded us a scholarly and wholesome look over the ways in which our forbears have come on the journey of faith and hope. It is valuable for use by clergy and laity. He bids us to lift every voice and proclaim with wisdom,prophetic confrontation and priestly listening, his ‘trivocal’ method of preaching, a way in which it can resound in the pulpit, the parish, and the podium.”

Dr. Evans E. Crawford, Jr., Dean Emeritus, Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Howard University, Prof., Social Ethics and Preaching, retired Howard University School of Divinity

“Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert has given us an analytical and critical tool for preaching in the twenty-first century. This book is excellent for classroom, private study and continuing education. We are in Dr.Gilbert’s debt for this brilliant teaching instrument for clergy and laity. He will help a new generation to gain and retain a profound appreciation for the creative powers and prophetic drumbeat of the African American pulpit.”

Otis Moss, Jr., Senior Pastor Emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland, OH

“Kenyatta Gilbert has made an invaluable contribution to homiletic scholarship and literature. Rich in tradition and wisdom, The Journey and Promise of African American Preaching captures the genius of the African-American pulpit. This work will be read widely and with great appreciation for years to come.”

Richard Lischer, Duke Divinity School, Author of The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Word That Moved America