During most of my professional life I have exercised my ordination through classroom teaching. The preaching I’ve done could be said to follow the “in and out” approach: a quick entrance to the local pulpit and a quicker exit, leaving the host pastor to pick up the pieces. But then my pastor asked if I …
THIS BOOK HAS BEEN REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF THE METHODIST PUBLISHING HOUSE.
Take a typical Sunday sermon, if you can stomach it. It begins with an anecdote, usually first-person, sometimes amusing. Then a generalization about “what the gospel is saying to us this morning.” Throw in a metaphor or two, add stories to taste, stir round and round to its utterly predictable ending ten minutes later. Ask …
This chapter interweaves material from the previous chapters. Analyses organized around the themes of theology, context, interpretation, language, and so called prophetic preaching. Van Seters also moves toward what comes next for the preacher.<
A summary of a sermon preached in a local church, and a transcribed discussion of a group of church members (three adults and three high school students) who gathered to discuss the service and the sermon immediately afterward.
A sample of the process of developing a sermon: The conception; Playing with the idea; Arriving at clarity; Method of sharing.
Van Seters poses five sets of questions which follow the order of the chapters. These should help the student to understand the social nature of preaching.
The author emphasizes the importance of creating church membership instruction which challenges an intelligent interest in the discussion of important religious question of our day if we are to have an informed laity.
A proper sermon can begin almost anywhere, and may be developed along almost any lines, provided that its ultimate starting point is Holy Scripture, in which the record and witness to the gospel are found, and that its final point of reference is always the Lord Jesus Christ, declared to be the Son of God with power.
The way Christians worship declares what they believe, but there is a wild and bewildering variety in the ways of worship by Christian people.
(ENTIRE BOOK) Discussion of a style of preaching that incarnates the word in the method, by one of the deans of 20th century American preaching.
I am writing this guest editorial on a red formica-topped table in the small kitchen of my mother’s quiet, early morning house. It is several weeks before Easter, but resurrection is on my mind. Upstairs the floor creaks as the elder of my two younger brothers gets out of bed. Otherwise, this old brick house …
Preachers of the “good news” speak not just for the contemporary Church but for the whole body of faithful people, and God alone knows who has responded faithfully to the divine self-disclosure.
Conversations are reported where the laymen are wrestling with the meaning of their lives and are unable to hear and understand the preaching of the church; and the preachers are struggling with the meaning of the gospel with such exclusive concentration that they are estranged from the meanings of their people.
This lecture is an effort to illuminate the present situation of preacher and parish by exploring the relational determinants suggested by the science of ecology.
The seminarian must be taught a method of preaching that incarnates the message.
Here is seen how we are sacramentally linked across political and social boundaries spatially, and across the generations and centuries temporally. The larger context comes into view.
We are not to preach a “new thing,” but we are to preach the old gospel in a “new way.” The preacher is also the minister of the church and the administrator of the sacraments.
Wardlaw sets up a non-existent congregation based on a number of congregations he has served in the past. This congregation becomes aware that the preaching has a dimension not found in other congregations, coming to see themselves as corporate partners with the preacher, and his preaching.
The theology of ministry implicit in which the preacher sees himself as solely responsible, contradicts the doctrine of ministry that we profess. We profess that all ministries are the ministry of the church. Since the church is made up of clergy and laity, it follows that both have responsibilities in all ministries, and this is no less true for preaching.
Preaching has been affected by our movement into the oral-aural world. The electronic age with its offering of a wide variety of ways to present the human voice has commanded new attention to oral language. It would be fruitful if the minister would explore the profundity of the ordinary experience of this oral-aural world — conversing, talking, listening-speaking.
Further inquiry, and a suggestion how our practice in preaching may be changed by its occurrence.
The ordained minister’s function is to proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified and risen from among the dead. This is simply and plainly Love — Love-in-act, God as Love, God as the cosmic Lover whose sweep is all-inclusive, but the application of which is particular for each and every man or woman or child.
The author challenges those who are ministers, that they are “men under authority,” the authority of our Lord as he has given it to them in and through and by his Body, the Church. The church is the setting for the gospel itself. It is more than the sum of the divisions of the church.
1. Particular concrete experiences are ingredient to the sermon; 2. The movement of material that respects the hearer as not only capable of but deserving the right to participate in that movement and arrive at a conclusion that is his own, not just the speaker’s; 3. The listener completes the sermon.
In an extended study the laity complained about preaching in the following order: 1. Too many ideas too fast; 2. Too much analysis and too few answers; 3. Too formal and too impersonal; 4. The preacher assumes the layman knows more about scripture than he does; 5. Sermons are too propositional, containing too few illustrations and those presented often not helpful; 6. Too many sermons go nowhere, reaching a dead end with no guidance to commitment and action.
The Christian gospel comes with assurance that persons are accepted by a power greater than themselves; hence they are able to accept both themselves and others and to overcome their feeling of alienation and estrangement.
Our preaching of the gospel must bring to the lonely, the lost, the heavy-laden people joy and peace in believing. If it does not do that then we are not preaching the gospel.
Social scientists and psychologists know the value of telling one’s story. Historians tell us we need to know where we have been in order to project where we want to go. Thus if we know who we are, and can reflect on those influences, we may be able to make changes in our life.
The tight sequences of Paul’s thought are not more characteristic than his amazing leaps; and in my own experiences as a preacher, the open space between the taking-off place and the landing place has been profoundly instructive.
An empathetic imagination means first having the wisdom and grace to receive the images of life about us and then secondly the freedom and confidence to reflect these with appropriate expressions.
Conventional preaching is totally monological. Ways must be found to produce duological preaching, for God also speaks through the laity.
Preachers of the gospel must see for themselves, and then help our people to see, that it is wrong to take language that is symbolically apt and use it as if it were language that is philosophically and scientifically precise.
An effort to reflect upon and reenact the delicate process whereby the mind and the imagination move from the place of hearing to the public celebration of the thing heard.
The proper setting for preaching should be the Eucharist. There are exceptions, but the Eucharist is the norm.
The preacher stands midway in the process of the biblical text. The text and its meaning are not just there, but the community is continually engaged in the production of meaning. That is what is meant by the “social nature” of the text.
The absence of serious interpretation of the Biblical text endangers the Christian character of the sermon while the presence of such Biblical interpretation endangers the movement of the sermon, and the unity essential to that movement, both qualities being requisites for maximum effectiveness.
The articulation of a protest directed to the people in our parishes and for executive officials in our general bodies who alone can do anything about what I have called the "Maceration of the Minister."
Ministers in Christ’s Church are by common consent set apart for the double task of declaring the “pure Word of God” and celebrating the Lord’s Supper according to Christ’s command and ordinance.
The author speaks to the meaning of preacher, priest, prophet, elder, shepherd, pastor and other references to the ordained leader, but he gives special emphasis upon the obligations, duties and leadership of the "preacher."
Dialogue is the interaction between two or more people in response to the truth; it is also the process of assimilation by which perceived truth becomes embodied in the person, becomes part of him. As we see it, dialogue provides the give and take, check and balance, test and correction, that human beings need both to understand rightly and to communicate accurately.
Our physical surroundings have an effect in ways which we feel and act. In much the same way, language shapes the ways we think, feel, and act in the world. Christian preaching seeks a world shaped by the gospel. Insightful preachers are therefore conscious of the social function of language and their sermons.
Barriers include: 1. Technical theological language; 2. Theological images; 3. Differences in age, sex, education, cultural level, etc.; 4. Our personal, situational or topical anxieties; 5. Our defensiveness.
Most of the New Testament can be viewed as interpretations and re-interpretations of the tradition in the light of new situations faced on the mission fields of a vigorous and growing Church. Thus, the modern minister must find a new way through from exegesis to the sermon.
Our age needs a new spirit — a deeply religious, theologically oriented, and traditionally grounded understanding of Christianity that is prepared to look critically at the inherited system of Christian thought and restate it in such terms as shall make sense to men and women who are living in these more empirical times.
Thomas Troeger sets out to explore those metaphors, symbols, and narratives from which a group draws its reason for being, sustains its current life, and envisions and realizes its future. His first example is Hitler and the methods he used to gain control of the majority of the German people.
The basic point of reference is the tradition,. The Bible is part of that tradition, but by no means all of it. In our times of fundamentalism and Biblical literalism we are challenged to use the Bible intelligently.
What can we do about the barriers to proper dialogue? How shall the preacher prepare himself for dialogical preaching? Preaching that engages people’s meanings dialogically will be able to deal with the resistances caused by ambivalence and all the barriers that occur in communication.
A preaching event is a sharing in the Word, a trip not just a destination, an arriving at a point for drawing conclusions and not handing over of a conclusion. In inductive preaching, the structure must be subordinate to movement. In fact, this subordination means that in most cases the structure is not visible to the congregation.
Dr. Pittenger discusses several difficulties with modern thought: 1. The uniqueness of Christ; 2. Divine intervention; 3. The “miraculous;” 4. Other religious traditions; 5. Secularization.
There is no conceivable way by which the Word of God through the world can influence the church unless the preacher and other ministers are open and attentive to the word that may be spoken to them out of the contemporary context of the world.
The author puts God at the center of his theological perspective, and the necessary consequences of this leads to a moral perspective.
The laity have a responsibility to pull the preaching out of the minister by the urgency of their questions, by their sense of excitement resulting from their experience of the meeting of meaning in their lives, by their devotion to their work in the world, and by their regular participation in the worship-preaching dialogue.
The responsible preacher will bring something significant to his message which will be meaningful to his listeners. Dr. Pittenger believes the sum of this is found in speaking of repentance, commitment and service.
One of the minim burst in on the Rabbi and exclaimed: “The Messiah has come!” The Rabbi went to the window and looked out, and demurred: “Nothing has changed.” “As of old, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, day and night; a generation goes and a generation comes but the earth remaineth the same What …
It’s a few days after your leader has been captured, roughed up by the jail keepers, tried in a kangaroo court, and then (to employ the currently favorite CIA euphemism) "neutralized." You had been captivated by him that day when he appeared over the hill and caught you working on your fish nets. He shared …
The pulpit in the Protestant church stands as a symbol of God’s Word. An open Bible habitually adorns it, meaning to signify that the pulpit freely declares that Word. But "adorns" is probably a most apt verb. After 22 years in the pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), it seems …
"God’s my size! " The three-year-old girl jumped up and ran to tell her mother. "Mom, God’s my size!" She got the idea while lying on her stomach looking at the creche beneath the Christmas tree. Eye-level with a baby is a good position from which to do theology. At Christmas God is newborn, less …
During the 1960s, preaching was being replaced by television. Now preaching is once again “in.” Yet a negative stereotype persists. This book focuses on how preaching is shaped by society amid the bombardment of social influences.
As a text I used Theory of Literature, by Rene Wellek and Austin Warren (Harcourt, Brace, 1956). The students wouldn’t read it. Those were bad days for the theory of anything. But in that book I came across a sentence that has anchored my intellectual life ever since: "The four basic elements in our whole …
If we make performance do as much work for us as it is capable of doing, we not only reach a fuller understanding of our roles as rhetors and rhetoricians but we may also discover a stronger sense of agency. Christian liturgy is a ritual performance that takes place in the "eighth day", that …
As a preacher and teacher, I make my living telling stories. While I know people who say that they “use” stories to make important points, I am one of those listeners who consistently remember the stories and forget the points. That is because the points tend to be perfectly clear and well behaved, as very …
Recently a student of mine, whom we shall call Student A, submitted a sermon outline "in partial fulfillment of course requirements" (as conventional academic phraseology so plaintively puts it. I immediately recognized the title and the four main points, in Sequence and verbatim, as the sermon outline of a nationally known preacher in an eastern …
If you are a male minister, you will find that there are many wonderful and unexpected advantages in having a ministerial colleague who is a woman and a mother. One of the advantages is that you have an irrefutable preacher to throw into the arena that women’s liberation has made of Mother’s Day. In recent …
(ENTIRE BOOK) Preaching has power when it is dialogical, when preacher and people become partners in the discernment and proclamation by word and action of the Word of God in response to the issues of our day.
As a historian of performance, I am interested in how bodily presence and speech became issues in Paul’s conflict with the Corinthian superapostles in the 50’s CE. From the information presented in 2 Cor 10:10 and 11:6, it appears that Paul was deemed ineffective in some form of public speech and that his inability to …
He always called it a performance, teasing the word with that mocking voice of his– ‘Where do I perform tonight?’ Do you expect a performance in a place like this?’–as if it were a game he might take part in only if he felt like it, maybe because that was the only way he could …
Introduction I am a practitioner of performance studies who, by choice and circumstance, keeps professional company with those who teach and practice preaching. My colleague David Bartlett has written that anyone’s approach to preaching and the teaching of preaching must be subjectival; one must make one’s biases explicit. This article tells how one set of …
(ENTIRE BOOK) Van Seters focuses on how preaching is shaped by its societal reality. Distinguishing between listeners and listeners as congregation, the social aspects of preaching are addressed. Each chapter is by a different author allowing a wide view of preaching,. Also preaching as a social act is examined.
In preparation for a lecture on “Electronic Communications in the Parish: Year 2000” at an Ohio University conference on technological communication and the churches, Parker Rossman sought out Gabe Campbell, pastor of First Congregational Church in Stamford, Connecticut, as one involved in the use of new technology. The New York Times and New Catholic World …
Every interpreter of the Christian faith is called to be a Hermes, one who brings a message of destiny, and to practice the science of Hermes, hermeneutics. He may not use the word, but his task is that of interpretation just the same. A question plaguing those who attempt to interpret the Christian faith in …
The title for this message was inspired by 1 Timothy 1:8, which may be translated, "We know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully." Today I would like to extend that idea to preaching and add that the law is good and should be preached lawfully. Whether we understand "lawfully" to mean …
Whether reacting to a bumper sticker or listening to a radio talk show, deciding how to vote or where to invest time and money, recoiling at the prejudice a child has picked up at school or squirming under a company policy that seems unfair — people cannot escape ethical issues. What is right? What is …
(ENTIRE BOOK) A very helpful approach to preaching of the gospel from the general perspective of “Process” thought.
The church’s preaching is a concern for both clergy and laity. Some parts of this book will focus on the layman’s role and others on the clergy’s part. But each should read the other’s parts.
Even though the author lived and preached in a theological world radically different from that of his father, nevertheless his father’s preaching was of substantial influence.
The author, a New Testament Scholar, is challenged to teach "Preaching." This book is the result of his preparation.
The author’s aim is to present liturgical preaching against a wider background of process thought and understanding.
This book is an outgrowth of Dr. Pittenger’s concern for the “apologetic” or “gospeling” of those who are in the parish ministry or will soon enter it.
(ENTIRE BOOK) From a theological approach Dr. Pittenger discusses the Christian Gospel, those to whom it is preached, it’s application to the present, it’s expression in worship and it’s challenge in an age of reason.
Book Review: Discovering a Sermon: Personal Pastoral Preaching. By Robert C. Dykstra. Chalice Press, 154 pp. Whether you are a preacher of sermons or a listener to them, you know how much rides on that 15 or 20 minutes in the pulpit. Hungry people are waiting to be fed. A holy God is waiting to …
(ENTIRE BOOK) A reassessment of the minister’s role as preacher in contemporary society — a re-evaluation made necessary by developments in theology and culture.
For anyone surveying theology since the Reformation, English may seem the wrong language to examine. Surely German has been the language of theology for at least the past 400 years. But most theological work of note, in whatever language it is originally written, eventually gets translated into English, and it is through English that most …
THE DILEMMA Have you ever found yourself in difficulty when you tried to explain to someone why being “washed in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14 ) should make one “whiter than snow” as that old gospel hymn puts it? A Japanese church member once complained to me that not only was the concept …