Erwin W. Lutzer. He Will Be the Preacher: The Story of God’s Providence in My Life. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2015. See here to buy the book.
Erwin W. Lutzer pastors the Moody Church in Chicago, and he has written a number of books. The title of this particular book, He Will Be the Preacher,
comes from something that the wife of the pastor who married Erwin
Lutzer’s parents said about Erwin when Erwin was a baby: “Er wird der
This book is somewhat of an autobiography. Lutzer talks about his
parents’ backgrounds, aspects of his childhood, his time in college and
seminary, how he met his wife, his role as pastor at the Moody Church
and his challenges there, his children, how he became an author, the
times that he interacted with his hero Billy Graham, and the time that
he visited Wittenberg in German, where Martin Luther nailed his
ninety-five theses. The last chapter of the book contains reflections
on preaching: the call of preaching, and how to be effective at it.
I was hesitant to read this book, at first, probably because I
wondered if Lutzer was famous enough to write an autobiography. There
are plenty of people who have written books, preached in churches, and
been on the radio, but they have not written a book about themselves!
But I was in the mood for a spiritual autobiography, and I had read some
of Lutzer’s other books. He struck me as a lucid, inviting, and
thoughtful writer, so I decided to read He Will Be the Preacher.
The book was good, overall. Lutzer told personal stories, while
interspersing them with spiritual reflections and discussions. He saw
spiritual significance in many of the stories that he told, and that
does give the book substance. Lutzer also shared about how his personal
time with God has evolved over the years and his witnessing to others.
Occasionally, Lutzer interacted with thorny, difficult questions
regarding divine providence or the Christian faith. He talks about how
he feels that God did not want him to marry a particular woman and put
roadblocks in his path to prevent that, but then he wonders why God
allows other people to enter into bad marriages. His personal story
about how he asked Christ into his heart and did not feel any
differently soon after that is also noteworthy.
The book seemed rather sugary at times, since there were so many things
in Lutzer’s life that fell into place, or good things that just fell
into his lap. The book perhaps could have been better had Lutzer talked
more about attempts to overcome personal flaws: he said that he was shy
as a youth, for example, and, as a shy person myself, I wonder how he
became less shy. The book also had some name-dropping, and it could be
tedious, in places.
Still, to say that Lutzer presents himself as perfect would be a
mistake, for Lutzer is candid about the differences he had with his wife
and the errors he made as a parent. He does come across as humble in
this book. Lutzer in this book also does not shy away from the trials
or tribulations of life.
In addition, the book offers sensible advice about evangelism, parenting, and preaching.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.