Preaching a Disturbing Gospel

John Wesley was once asked why so many people came to hear him preach. His response was, “When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” While the question pushed to understand why the masses were so intrigued with Wesley’s pulpit, we might well ask today, what is really happening in our pulpits to capture the interest and the attention of today’s listener? If we were to survey local congregations, perhaps we would be surprised to learn how many people would like to see a little more fire burning in the pulpit on a Sunday morning! It presses us to ask what preaching is accomplishing in today’s contemporary world. Is preaching waking people up or is it painfully lulling them to sleep? Is preaching inspiring, motivating and reaching people where they are, or has the relevancy of this time-honoured tradition within the Christian church lost esteem and effectiveness?

Drawing from the richness of The Salvation Army’s story, we reach back into the Victorian and Edwardian eras (1819-1930) to encounter the aggressive proclamation of a disturbing gospel…. Is there still a place for confrontational preaching in the contemporary pulpit? Does this approach to preaching help to address some of the very real challenges we are facing in engaging today’s listener?

A remarkable book. Julie Slous combines a careful historian’s eye, an ear for compelling and artful preaching … a heart for a gospel that can often be disturbing … and offers a very practical set of methods for preachers today.
— Thomas G. Long, Bandy professor of preaching, Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia 

Julie Slous is a splendid preacher and teacher who is concerned about listeners’ needs in the postmodern world … Preachers from any background could benefit from her guidance.— Paul Scott Wilson, professor of homiletics, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto

About the Author
Julie Slous holds a doctorate of ministry in biblical preaching (Luther Seminary, Minnesota), and served The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory as an instructor of homiletics for 15 years. Combining both the theory and practice of preaching, she has become distinguished as both an articulate and gifted expositor of the Word.

Preaching a Disturbing Gospel is available at or