The Required Reading of Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas

The Required Reading of Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas

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I had the privilege of studying preaching under the guidance of Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas. Though a textbook could be written about his method, his was not a “textbook” method. He taught us would be preachers to approach preaching as a sacred art, a craft of weaving the biblical story into and out of the souls of men and women. Though he didn’t scorn books on preaching, he seemed more intent that we read classic literature. In fact, he assigned it. I still have the list. As I read Derek Vreeland’s fine post on reading fiction it reminded me of that list. I thought our Seedbed community might enjoy seeing the recommended reading list of one of the great preachers of the 20th and now 21st century.



G.K. Chesterton

All I Survey, a book of essays

All is Grist, a book of essays

As I was saying


T.S. Eliot, Christianity and Culture

Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season



T.S. Eliot, The Complete Poems and Plays

Robert Frost, In the Clearing



James Agee, Letters of James Agee to Father Flye



Louis Auchincloss, The Rector of Justin

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter

Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

Sinclair Lewis, Dodsworth

John P. Marquand, The Late George Apley

Alan Paton, Too Late the Phalarope

Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

Charles Williams, All Hallow’s Eve

Thomas Wolfe, The Web and the Rock


If you want to sample the preaching works of Ellsworth Kalas,  Seedbed has collected some his greatest hits and made them available here.


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