The Rev. Dr. Trygve Johnson, who as the Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel at Hope College preaches regularly at Hope as well as in other venues, is author of a new book designed to help others who share the message of Jesus Christ from the pulpit.
His book, “The Preacher as Liturgical Artist: Metaphor, Identity, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ,” was published earlier this year by Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers of Eugene, Ore., with a foreword by Eugene Peterson.
Johnson considers that the metaphorical association of the preacher and artist understood within the artistic ministry of Jesus Christ frees the full range of human capacities, including the imagination, to bear upon the arts of Christian proclamation. It is in the large creative ministry of Jesus Christ, he notes, that preachers find their creativity freed to proclaim the gospel bodily within the liturgical work of God’s people.
The Rev. Dr. William Willimon, who is professor of the practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School, has called the book “an astute, theologically informed look at the challenges and the opportunities of preaching in a postmodern context.”
“Johnson, who is a fine preacher, has written a fine book for the rest of us,” Willimon said. “Trygve shows how preaching is an art that is dependent upon the miraculous, gracious speaking of God. This book can help us preachers recover our theological nerve—and also the great joy of preaching.”
The Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, England, has also praised the book, saying, “In an age taken up with technique, this study dwells on character. In an era given over to image, Johnson explores the spoken word. There’s nothing wrong with preaching that a clear sense of identity, a clear understanding of role, a thorough theological grasp of Christianity as practical wisdom and thrilling news, and an artist’s playfulness and imagination cannot put right. In this impressive and encouraging work, Johnson gives us hope in preaching, but more significantly, hope in the gospel.”
Johnson has been a member of the Hope staff since 2005. As leader of the college’s Campus Ministries office, he oversees Hope’s thrice-weekly Chapel and Sunday-evening services, preaches regularly in Chapel, speaks at other events on campus, in the community and around the country, and nurtures relationships with the college’s students, faculty and staff.
Dr. Johnson preaches and lectures regularly in a variety of church and college settings, such as Duke University and Wheaton College. He also serves as an adjunct professor of homiletics at Western Theological Seminary.
He has written for “Reformed Worship” and “Perspectives,” and been an invited contributor to web-journals for “The Christian Century” and “Faith & Leadership” of Duke Divinity School.
Johnson graduated cum laude from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, in 1996, with a major in history. He subsequently completed a Master of Divinity degree at Western Theological Seminary in 1999, and earned a doctorate in theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2009. After graduating from Western Theological Seminary, he was ordained in the Reformed Church in America and returned to Northwestern College, serving as chaplain until beginning his doctoral work at St. Andrews in 2002.
Copies of “The Preacher as Liturgical Artist” are available for $25 at the college’s Hope-Geneva Bookstore, which is located on the ground level of the DeWitt Center, 141 E. 12th St., and can be called at 800-946-4673 or (616) 395-7833. Additional ordering information may be obtained by e-mailing the Hope-Geneva Bookstore at firstname.lastname@example.org.