R.T. Kendall can preach with the best of them, yet it’s his gift of connecting knowledge to Spirit-empowered truth that truly sets him apart
We’ve had some high-profile guest editors such as Reinhard Bonnke, Robert Morris, Mike Bickle, Bill Johnson and Dr. Mark Rutland. During these two years, Ministry Today has experienced a resurgence unlike anything in its nearly three-decade history. I’m grateful to these guest editors and for the response from readers like you.
Now we focus on an equally important topic for pastors: preaching. To do so, we asked one of the best preachers of our generation—Dr. R.T. Kendall—to be guest editor.
Dr. Kendall is best known for being pastor for 25 years at Westminster Chapel in London, arguably the most famous evangelical church in a country that places a high premium on prestige. Before him, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and G. Campbell Morgan preached there. So how did an American from Ashland, Ky., end up in such an important post for a quarter century? I believe it’s because he’s such a good preacher.
We asked him to share from his years of experience to inspire our readers, many of whom preach multiple times a week. We didn’t want something stuffy about homiletics; we wanted to keep it practical. R.T. immediately said he’d write about the Word and Spirit. It’s been said that if you preach the Word but have no Spirit, people will dry up. If you have only the Spirit and no Word, people will blow up. But if you have both, then Christians will grow up.
Dr. Kendall asked other respected preachers such as Jack Taylor, Ed Stetzer and Charles Carrin to write. These are seasoned men of God who have decades of experience. But this issue also includes younger leaders such as Mark Batterson, so it’s a good mixture and an interesting read.
I first met R.T. and his lovely wife, Louise, in the early 1990s at a big event in the U.K. that brings together evangelicals for a week of fellowship and Bible teaching. He was one of the main teachers and I was immediately impressed not only with his depth of knowledge, but also with the power with which he ministered. We met at a meal, and I’ll never forget the oddity of chatting in England with someone with a Southern American accent! As I got to know him, I discovered that while leading an important congregation only a few blocks from Buckingham Palace and Parliament, he was approachable and genuine. I came to appreciate his wit and sense of humor. Since then we’ve become friends and I’ve had the privilege of publishing 25 of his books.
A prolific writer, Dr. Kendall is the author of more than 55 books, including Total Forgiveness, How To Forgive Ourselves Totally, The Sensitivity of the Spirit, The Thorn in the Flesh, Grace, Pure Joy, Imitating Christ, and The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. His latest book, Totally Forgiving God, is the third in his series on forgiveness. When Dr. James Dobson interviewed Dr. Kendall on this topic, it became one of the most highly responded-to programs in the history of Focus on the Family. This new book is endorsed by people as diverse as Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Dr. Tony Campolo, and Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in London.
I’m proud of all of R.T.’s books we’ve published, but this one may be his most important. In a time when injustice and evil fill the world, there is nobody on the planet who hasn’t suffered. We’ve all been hurt, attacked, mistreated, deceived or falsely accused. Though God, who is unlimited in power, could stop this, He doesn’t.
Dr. Kendall dares to ask why God allows bad things to happen to us. But in the process of wrestling with this timeless question, he demonstrates why we need to release God from the blame we put on Him when we feel He has betrayed us. He uses Scripture to awaken both understanding and freedom within—once again showcasing his unique gift of revealing biblical truth and relating it to people’s lives in a way that helps them not only understand God more, but also provides a breakthrough in the spirit. In fact, Jim Bakker recently told me that while he was serving time in federal prison, Dr. Kendall’s book on Joseph, God Meant it for Good, literally “saved my life” because it gave him hope.
R.T. has been a great encourager to me and we’ve enjoyed many hours of fellowship at each other’s homes or eating out (he enjoys patronizing the finest steak houses). I respect him as an author, a theologian and as a preeminent preacher. But more than that, I value his friendship that has now spanned two decades.
In the same way I’ve been blessed to know Dr. Kendall, I hope you are blessed by this issue and by his new book.