A Cross-Shattered Church

Reclaiming the Theological Heart of Preaching

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"This exciting book of profound and often challenging sermons by Hauerwas is to be warmly welcomed, as it will enrich the life of the Church and its proclamation of the Gospel--to say nothing of revitalizing relevant Christian theology."--Duncan B. Forrester, Expository Times
With passion and insight, eminent theologian Stanley Hauerwas shows how the sermon is the best context for doing good theology in A Cross-Shattered Church. He writes, "I am convinced that the recovery of the sermon as the context for theological reflection is crucial if Christians are to negotiate the world in which we find ourselves." The book includes seventeen sermons preached by Hauerwas, which he considers his best theological work. They are divided into four sections: Seeing, Saying, Living, and Events. Sermon titles cover a broad range of topics, including (among others): Believing Is Seeing, The Glory of the Trinity, The End of Sacrifice, Was It Fitting for Jesus to Die on a Cross?, Only Fear Can Drive Out Fear, The Appeal of Judas, Slavery as Salvation, To Be Made Human, and Water Is Thicker than Blood. Professors and students of theology, pastors, and those interested in what Hauerwas has to say about theology and preaching will value this work.

The Author

  1. Stanley Hauerwas

    Stanley Hauerwas

    Stanley Hauerwas (PhD, Yale University) professor emeritus of divinity and law at Duke Divinity School. He is the author of over forty books, including Cross-Shattered Christ, A Cross-Shattered Church, War and the American Difference, and...

    Continue reading about Stanley Hauerwas


"'Preaching Repentance in a Time of War'--not actually a sermon but an appendix to the book--should be required reading for all American Christians. Hauerwas's sermons, like Karl Barth's in Deliverance to the Captives, provide an accessible path into his theology."--Christian Century

"We should be grateful . . . that one of the significant theologians of the late 20th and early 21st century has seen the need to, once again, share with us a collection of sermons. His is a voice and a challenge to preach theology that continues to be needed. Perhaps as important as the sermons that he offers is the introduction to the volume in which Hauerwas issues the call for theologically grounded preaching."--Lucy Lind Hogan, Homiletic

"This volume is worth reading for pastors as it brings theology to life in weekly preaching. Preachers who doubt congregations can handle strong theology will be challenged to reconsider that conviction. Those who believe preaching is the primary form for theological reflection on the biblical text for the church will be encouraged simply listening to one do it with such honesty and courage, even if one disagrees with his conclusions. . . . Hauerwas unflinchingly brings his characteristically sharp theological wit to the task of scriptural exegesis, without insulting his listeners by reducing the text or theology into palatable sound bites. . . . The volume includes a helpful essay accounting for the particular way Hauerwas does theological reflection."--Roy W. Howard, Presbyterian Outlook

"A rich collection of challenging and powerful sermons, each anchored securely in selected passages from the Bible, and taking place in a particular detailed situation. . . . Stanley Hauerwas is probably the most creative, provocative, exciting, challenging and sometimes exasperating theologian in the English speaking world today. . . . This exciting book of profound and often challenging sermons by Hauerwas is to be warmly welcomed, as it will enrich the life of the Church and its proclamation of the Gospel--to say nothing of revitalizing relevant Christian theology."--Duncan B. Forrester, Expository Times

"[Hauerwas] is impatient with the kind [of] modern theology that seems always to be 'throat clearing' before it ever gets around to saying anything, and indeed he exhibits no hesitation in saying lots of things clearly, boldly, and eloquently. . . . He preaches, even on paper alone, with a strong voice. The sermons in this book are the kind where you really need to hold on to your seat, even though you are reading rather than listening. It is exhilarating to read such powerful, deeply theological, and scriptural sermons. Many readers will feel a measure of wistful regret that it is rare to hear such sermons often today. . . . We need this level of passion and insight from the pulpit and this powerful challenge to the kind of complacency that the Church in our times and among the rich is liable to lapse into. . . . These sermons are a gift to any reader."--Susan Durber, Theology

"This book has a very pastoral slant in portraying doctrine through the spoken word. . . . One interesting aspect of this collection of sermons is their interconnectedness. . . . Through these sermons one is able to sit in the pew and listen to the word as it is preached by Hauerwas. Much of his personality and line of thought is seen through the stories and illustrations given. This book is recommended as a helpful insight into the role of preaching as theology for the church."--Shaun Price, Theological Book Review

"Hauerwas's collection of sermons is what we would expect from Hauerwas: preaching the lectionary texts to our time with characteristic wit, poignancy, and fight. His creativity and insight are exemplified in the faithful connections he makes between lectionary texts. The sermons make profound arguments. . . . Cross-Shattered Church exemplifies how pastors and preachers may use the lectionary in a narrative style of preaching."--Aaron Perry, Wesleyan Theological Journal

"[This book] reflects deep theological thought, care for the church, and reflection on what it means to be a Christian in the world today. . . . Hauerwas's words (in his sermons as well as in the introductory material) [are] a helpful re-engagement with the idea that the writing of words for preaching is profoundly theological. . . . The highlight for me in the reading of the sermons was their liturgical emphasis. . . . Reading these sermons with their connections to the church and its primary meal made me hungry for bread and wine: and that is good theology."--Seth Moland-Kovash, Congregations

"Stanley Hauerwas adds to his theological corpus with this thoughtful and provocative collection of sermons and reflections on the relationship between theology, as practiced in the academy, and preaching, as practiced in the pulpit. . . . This collection of sermons, with its accompanying essay on Hauerwas' theological work, lays the groundwork for a fruitful discussion of the essential interdependence of theology and preaching, and the ways in which theology and preaching can and should interact. This book provides a point of entry to many different theological topics and could assist in provoking discussions with groups of students at a variety of levels. Even more, Hauerwas' sermons may encourage other preachers to be theological and other theologians to bring their theology into the daily lives of more Christians, outside the ivory tower."--Maureen Beyer Moser, Catholic Books Review

"This new book of sermons . . . exhibits Stanley Hauerwas's most persistently held contention that we need to get over the epistemic obsessions of modernity and get on with being the Church. A Cross-Shattered Church is, by Hauerwas's own description, among his most important works, and this status has less to do with its intellectual rigor or novelty than with its setting--more often than not the parish pulpit. . . . One should not be surprised to find oneself swimming in his extraordinarily well-read thoughts. Such thoughts are . . . consistently helpful, whether for other preachers (who would do well to use some of these ideas) or people in the pews. . . . The distinctive voice in these sermons is, perhaps in its accidents, the Texas twang of the bricklayer-turned-academic renowned for his salty diction (largely mellowed here), but its substance stands out as that of a true vir ecclesiasticus, a man of the Church."--Samuel Keyes, The Living Church

"In an age where so much preaching has degenerated into pablum, it is refreshing to read a message in which the preacher is not only willing to tell the story of a dying friend, but to follow that with material from Wittgenstein and Augustine, as well as a scholarly reading of the biblical text. Theological and compelling."--Mike Graves, Review & Expositor