"Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit."
Birth of Jesus
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. 20 As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “ Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. ” 22 Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
( Emmanuel means “ God with us. ” )
24 When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.
In this compelling and hard-hitting book, respected preacher and teacher Thomas Long identifies and responds to what he sees as the most substantive theological forces and challenges facing preaching today. The issues, he says, are fourfold: the decline in the quality of narrative preaching and the need for its reinvigoration; the tendency of preachers to ignore God's action and presence in our midst; the return of the church's old nemesis, gnosticism--albeit in a milder form--evidenced in today's new "spirituality"; and the absence of eschatology in the pulpit.
Long once again has his finger on the pulse of American preaching, demonstrated by his creative responses to these challenges. Whether he is calling for theologically smarter and more ethically discerning preaching, providing a method of interpretation that will allow pastors to recover the emphasis on God in our midst, or encouraging a kind of "interfaith dialogue" with gnosticism, he demonstrates why he has long been considered one of the most thoughtful and intelligent preachers in America today.