Dennis Swanson

About Dennis Swanson

Dr. Dennis M. Swanson is currently the Dean of Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Formerly was the VP of The Master's Seminary Library, Accreditation, and Operations for 24 years. He also oversaw the production of The Master's Seminary Journal, and is an experienced writer and editor. Prior to the he was an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The Coming Doom of Elder Rule

Weather and history, facilitate two other professions: the “forecaster,” an individual who states with varying degrees of accuracy what the weather will be like tomorrow; and the “futurist,” those who forecast, also with varying degrees of accuracy, future trends in society, business, politics or multiple other arenas. Another occupation, the consultant, also forecasts, but mainly recommends some action to either take advantage of the trends or to mitigate against damage the potential storm may cause. The church consultant, like me, is no different. I try to examine history and the “weather” and then make some educated predictions with a view to helping churches either exploit or expiate their situation.… Continue reading

An Updated Christmas Shopping List: Commentaries, Theologies, Reference, Oh My!

Last year I posted here some recommendations for commentaries and other book sets people might want to buy for that pastor or seminary student in their life. It was in no particular order and it wasn’t exhaustive.

Two things happened again this year: people started sending me notes asking about this or that book as a gift and I also received my shipment of books from the Evangelical Publishing Association. I’m a judge in the Bible and Reference section for their annual Gold Medallion Awards (and I have been for about 15 years). Questions and these new additions to commentary series stimulated me to create some additions to last years sampling.… Continue reading

That Forgotten Concept in Preaching: The Paragraph

I recall some time ago listening to a conversation between two great preachers, Haddon Robinson and Warren Wiersbe (when Robinson was president of Denver Seminary he had a very helpful audio series on preaching). They were both funny, provocative, and pointed in their discussion of preaching, particularly “expository preaching.” These are two men who have studied and taught about preaching as much as anyone in the last 50 years.

In the discussion Robinson was criticizing the atomistic tendencies in preaching; that is preachers who seemingly dedicate a whole sermon expositing a colon. Wiersbe quickly adding, “or after his operation, a semi-colon.” The point was humorous and well made.… Continue reading

What I Learned from Vin Scully

Last Sunday Vin Scully called his final game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He called play-by-play for the Dodgers, starting in Brooklyn in 1950 and ending, perhaps appropriately, calling the game against the Dodgers greatest rival, transferred from the borough of Queens to San Francisco, the Giants.vinscully

The Dodgers were sill in Brooklyn when I was born, so I don’t remember listening to Vin until the early 1960’s, there are pictures of me attending Dodger games at the LA Memorial Coliseum, where the team played for four years while Dodger Stadium was being built.

Growing up, I learned several things from Vin Scully.… Continue reading

Are You a Reading Pastor? or How Can You Build Something if You Don’t Know How to Use Tools?

(I apologize in advance for the length of this essay. I am not trying to fight the ever decreasing attention span of readers, but as Spurgeon told the lady who criticized his humor in the pulpit, “you would think better of me if you knew how much I left out.”)

It should go without saying that pastor’s read. Some read more than others and some read better than others; the ones that aren’t as good aren’t illiterate, sometimes just blindingly uncritical. Books are the tools of the pastor, because for both preaching and everyday pastoral ministry, the effective pastor must have a wide range of material at his disposal.… Continue reading