The Eloquence of Grace, edited by James M. Childs Jr. and Richard Lischer

February 3, 2013

Sittler (1904–1987) was a renowned preacher, teacher and theological conversation partner, but his published writings are rather slim. The problem with this legacy, as Martin E. Marty notes in the foreword, is that it disappears when “the sound waves have died.” Hence, this retrieval of 25 of his speeches and sermons, many of them recovered from audio tapes and never before published, is a gift. They reveal a thinker well acquainted with systematic theology but impatient with its limits and inclined to explore faith via fiction and the words of hymns. Given Sittler’s love of imaginative literature, the sermons collected here are surprisingly cerebral performances—more ruminative than evocative. But there is wisdom and a compelling honesty on every page.