Out of the Depths: Sermons and Essays

Out of the Depths Out of the Depths Kenneth E. Kovacs

Kenneth E. Kovacs

Parson's Porch &

Book Publishing Company, 2016

Ken Kovacs, pastor at Catonsville Presbyterian Church outside Baltimore, presents a superb collection of sermons and essays in his new book, Out of the Depths. Its title draws on the story in Luke when Jesus directs Simon and his fellow fishermen to go out deeper into the lake of Gennesaret and throw their fishnets over the side of their boat.  In doing so, they bring up an enormous haul of fish which nearly breaks their nets. Likewise, Kovacs has drawn out of the depths in writings that are grounded in thorough biblical knowledge and Reformed theology and illuminated by the breadth of his intellectual curiosity and, in particular, his study of Jungian psychology. Kovacs points out that C. G. Jung’s unique spiritual perspective on the human journey as a psychiatrist raised in the Reformed tradition enabled him to shed light on the struggles and failures of the contemporary Protestant Church and create imaginative symbols in the often-arid Calvinist domain.

Yet what truly makes Kovacs’ sermons stand above the rest is how he reaches down, time and again, into the riches of Scripture, searching for its original contextual meaning to explain such challenges as predestination, Revelation, or Job; articulates his exegetical discoveries; and draws historical and literary connections, all with well-informed passion. Without arrogance or superficiality, but with honest vulnerability, Kovacs plumbs his own life of faith as well. One suspects (a little enviously) that, over his seventeen years with them, his Catonsville congregation has confidently come to understand their place in the context of the Bible, the Church, and the world.  In this age of ever-decreasing church membership and even greater increasing geopolitical uncertainty, Out of the Depths calls all Christians to go deep and look for surprising new dimensions within the Word which will in turn deepen us for our role as faithful people of Jesus Christ--perhaps in ways we have not imagined before.

 

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