Preaching without danger...
Ask me to list my favorite books and up there near the top would be Kierkegaard's Attack Upon "Christendom". Every pastor and elder should read it, as should their wives. It pierces our hypocrisy and points the way back to the path and cost of discipleship. It skewers the modern expectation that the model pastor will have the affect and temperament of a shopkeeper, instead calling for a restoration of manliness to our preaching and pastoral care.
To entice our good readers to find the book and read it, here's one of the hundred or so passages perfectly suited to the work of reform so desperately needed in the evangelical and reformed pulpits of our day.
We all know what it is to play warfare in mock battle, that it means to imitate everything just as it is in war. The troops are drawn up, they march into the field, seriousness is evident in every eye, but also courage and enthusiasm, the orderlies rush back and forth intrepidly, the commander's voice is heard, the signals, the battle cry, the volley of musketry, the thunder of cannon--everything exactly as it is in war, lacking only one thing...the danger.
So also it is with playing Christianity, that is, imitating Christian preaching in such a way that everything, absolutely everything is included in as deceptive a form as possible--only one thing is lacking...the danger.
(From Attack Upon "Christendom" by Soren Kierkegaard; 1944, Princeton University Press.)
[Please note: This recommendation of Attack Upon Christendom is not a general recommendation of Kierkegaard. My friend Don Johnson warns that Kierkegaard was a "father of liberalism," and I do not have the knowledge to agree or disagree, although the book Don cites for his concern, Murray's Evangelicalism Divided, has been one of the formative influences in my work and just yesterday, again, I recommended it to a brother for his reading list. So while acknowledging this concern with Kierkegaard--a concern I've heard before--I place this volume by Kierkegaard high on my list and encourage all to get it and read it.]