Charles Swindoll, age 75, is nearing a time when most people enjoy retirement. But the seasoned pastor refuses to quit preaching, and a younger generation still looks to him as a model. In a recent LifeWay Research survey, Protestant pastors said that, after Billy Graham, Swindoll influenced them more than any other preacher. The chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has spent more than 40 years as a pastor and contributed to more than 70 book titles. His preaching has been broadcast on more than 2,000 radio outlets worldwide.
Swindoll, also the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, recently began a 27-volume commentary series, starting with Insights on Romans (Zondervan). J. R. Kerr, a teaching pastor at Park Community Church in Chicago, spoke with Swindoll about his new book and his advice for young pastors.
You've written several practical, popular books over the years. What compelled you to begin the series with Romans?
This was a personal challenge, given my practical style, to pick up my pen and take on the New Testament books. I began with Romans because of its balance of doctrine and the Christian life and practicality. In it you have eight chapters of doctrine, three chapters that deal with the sovereignty of God in the life of Israel and the church, and the last five chapters have to do with practical Christian living—and, of course, that's right down my alley.
There's been a renewal of gospel-centered preaching, in which the focus is on the Atonement and making Jesus the hero. How would you respond to critics who say that story-focused preaching draws attention away from the gospel?
When you are giving people the gospel, you are giving them something to believe, and you have to set ...1