Baumann is a Baptist minister and former seminary professor. He points out in his introduction, "The volume unfolds as a commentary on my own definition of preaching: Preaching is the communication of biblical truth by man to men with the explicit purpose of eliciting behavioral change." Using this definition, he divides the book into three sections: communication, biblical truth, and behavioral change.
The book is broad in its coverage, including everything from worship to architecture as a part of preaching. It also ranges widely in its sources, bringing ancient rhetoric, classical homiletics, and contemporary communication theory to bear on preaching. Baumann quotes everyone from Aristotle to Reuel Howe to contemporary communication theorists Marshall McLuhan and S. I. Hayakawa. This makes the book unique in its blending of the classical and scientific approaches to preaching.
It includes a significant number of poignant quotations, such as the words of a seminary professor arguing that much theological jargon must be popularized before it can be shared from the Christian pulpit: "It takes three years to get through seminary and 10 years to get over it." And James Stewart's question, which makes the point that the final test of a sermon is what happened to the worshipers: "Did they, or did they not, meet God today?"
Regrettably, the book has more breadth than depth. Trying to include everything, it cannot treat anything profoundly.
The book provides an excellent overview or review of homiletics. It would make a good elementary homiletics text book. The author accomplished what the book's title suggests: he has provided an introduction rather than a deep study, and he has related contemporary as well as classical theory to preaching.