Many of America’s greatest Protestant preachers—Paul Tillich, William Sloane Coffin, Barbara Brown Taylor, Fleming Rutledge, Peter J. Gomes, Billy Graham, and others—have spoken powerfully from the pulpit of the “great towering church” that is the spiritual and architectural center of Duke University. This collection of fifty-eight of the most notable sermons proclaimed from that pulpit commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the groundbreaking for Duke Chapel. It is a sweeping panorama of sermons selected and edited by Bishop William H. Willimon, Dean of the Chapel for twenty years and one of the most widely read writers on preaching in America.
Opening with the sermon preached in June 1935 at the dedication of the Chapel and closing with one by Willimon delivered at the beginning of the 2003–4 school year, this volume presents Protestant Christianity at its most eloquent and prophetic. Some sermons are pure meditations on biblical texts; others are period pieces in the best sense of the term, reflecting on such contemporary concerns as civil rights, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and the wars in Europe, Vietnam, and Iraq. Willimon provides a brief introduction to each sermon, commenting on the work and thought of the preacher. Diverse in subject and style, the sermons collected in this volume are a treasure for those who love fine preaching, a resource for those studying the history of homiletics, and a light to rekindle the memories of those who have worshiped in the Chapel over the years.