Propositional sermons generally assume that every text contains a subject or idea that can be extracted, explained, and applied to the life and work of a congregation. Typically, the points are either driven by the biblical text, or by a teaching i. The points may be clearly identified, "My first point is The purpose is a persuasive argument.
The movement is accumulative as in "Three ways to pray" , or driven by logic as in a syllogism, if A and B, then C , or progressive as in three steps to effective social outreach. The structure is largely mechanical, like Lego pieces, and sometimes predictable, though the points themselves may be novel. It is also somewhat arbitrary that there are three points. The points often come from Bible verses. For instance, Paul says, "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
My proclamation was] with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power" 1 Cor , 4. A sermon could be structured as follows:. Application in preaching occurs when the relevance of a text for today is explored. In this case, application could happen three times, once in relation to each point. Alternatively, a concluding section of the sermon could apply the significance of Christ to the life and work of the congregation. A variation on text-driven points is verse-by-verse preaching where the order of the points is determined by the logical or chronological flow of the biblical text.
Preachers through the ages have preached doctrinal sermons that might begin with a Bible verse that isolates a church teaching, and the doctrine then develops, perhaps with passing reference to several relevant biblical texts. John A. Broadus, whose Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons is still used, provides this outline on the doctrine of the Word of God — a doctrine that is essential today for preachers to teach.
His sermon addresses this question: "In what consists the glory of gospel preaching? His book would have been a boon for Puritan preachers, if not for their listeners, who had to endure as many as sixty points and sub-points in total. Broadus recommends no more than four, and offers this three-point simplification of his six-point outline: the glory of gospel preaching consists, "1 in its establishment, 2 in its subject, and 3 in its operation and effects. Topical sermons are like doctrinal ones, but the focus is a social topic, and biblical texts may be employed at will.
Ronald A. Nathan preached on the role of the Caribbean black church in Great Britain, and he based his comments on Philippians , "forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Much African American preaching uses an underlying propositional form, and it often does so with cultural flair and innovation.
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Perhaps sensing that three points can be too linear or mechanical, James H. Harris gives them movement using Hegel's "thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Mitchell identified as the passionate, uplifting climax of the sermon. Three-points-and-a-poem and three-points-and-a-celebration are similar in basic concept though not when experienced as performance — did they share a history at some point? Propositional preaching can be excellent for teaching, as in an All Saints sermon by William B. McClain: 1 Those who have gone before us were faithful; 2 "All the saints salute you"; and 3 We dare not fail them.
We will return to more distinctive features of African American preaching in a moment. Propositional sermons often aim for a strong hook in a beginning that announces the theme and the upcoming argument. Conclusions often are used as effective summaries. Authority in expository, doctrinal, and topical sermons tends to be vertical, with the preacher above the people as the teaching elder. Traditionally, if stories were used they were moralistic illustrations serving points, more addressed to the head than the heart. Today, much has changed in the propositional world.
How points are emphasized can vary, story is now more frequently a shared narrative experience, and PowerPoint can add additional components.
Propositional preaching can be excellent for teaching — two and a half centuries later, preachers still recite John Wesley's memorable stewardship outline, "Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can. Preaching was excessively "heady," too reliant on information, argument, and intellect — too much like a lecture. The high pulpit seemed "ten feet above contradiction. Not every text can be reduced to a single proposition or concept. Fred Craddock once compared the process to boiling tea and preaching the stain in the bottom of the cup.
Fresh alliteration, like "Pray, Prepare, Praise," did not necessarily make the weekly sermon form seem varied. Books of sermon illustrations provided stories that often seemed canned, artificial, or corny. As illustrations, they did exactly that, they illustrated, they simply added a picture to a point that was already intellectually established and stood on its own. They were not actually needed for the argument.
They popularized what was said and made it more accessible. Some said they dumbed it down. What was needed in preaching was not just fresh paint on the walls, a renovation was needed that rethought the entire preaching moment. The foundation was set for the New Homiletic. The New Homiletic is an innovative school of preaching that began in the s and took a holistic approach to preaching.
It adopted an integrated understanding of organic form, imagination, language, metaphor, narrative, image, performance, the Word as event, inductive learning, horizontal authority, social context, justice, transformation, and the like. In the subsequent decades, changing understandings affected preaching across the theological spectrum. Most of the innovation was complete by around By then, most key insights had been made.
New paradigms do not just suddenly appear, they evolve, and they also do not just end. The value of the New Homiletic continues today as scholars and preachers further appropriate its teachings, and occasional books still add to it. It makes preaching experiential. One of the new movement's first green shoots burst forth from the homiletical soil in , when H.
He said the sermon should grow, its twigs and blossoms unfolding naturally from its inner life, rooted in the eternal Word and in "loam enriched by death. Even using the form of a poem to demonstrate what he meant by organic growth was revolutionary. It represented a radical innovation and signaled what would become a key principle in the new movement: form is not separate from function. They are related. In this case, his poem grew in the same tree-like way that sermons are to grow.
The Four Pages of the Sermon · Abingdon Press
It did what it talked about, it embodied what it meant. The implications are large: 1 The form of a biblical text affects its meaning. In , David Randolph was the first to call the various fresh initiatives a "New Homiletic," drawing on a then-current school of biblical thought known as "the new hermeneutic. Terms like "narrative," "story," and "inductive sermon" became common. We can number some of the ways in which his predictions proved accurate:. The sermon creates an effect, "What happened in this sermon? It is biblical, "designed to bring the word of God to expression. Leander Keck advocated renewal of the Bible for the pulpit.
The eventual publication of the Revised Common Lectionary, based on the three-year Roman Catholic Lectionary after Vatican II, did much to assist this renewal in many denominations. It is theological and Christ-centered.
Randolph affirmed John Wesley's purpose of preaching, "To invite. To convince. To offer Christ. To build up; and do this in some measure in every sermon. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift. Overview Doing justice to the complexity of the preaching task and the questions that underlie it, author Paul Scott Wilson organizes both the preparation and the content of the sermon around its "four pages. Page One presents the trouble or conflict that takes place in or that underscores the biblical text itself.
Page Two looks at similar conflict--sin or brokenness--in our own time. Page Three returns to the Bible to identify where God is at work in or behind the text--in other words, to discover the good news. Page Four points to God at work in our world, particularly in relation to the situations described in Page Two.
The Four Pages of the Sermon: A Guide to Biblical Preaching by Paul Scott Wilson
This approach is about preaching the gospel in nearly any sermonic form. This completely revised edition guides readers through the sermon process step by step, with the aim of composing sermons that challenge and provide hope, by focusing on God more closely than on humans.
It has been largely rewritten to include an assessment of where preaching is today in light of propositional preaching, the New Homiletic, African American preaching, the effect of the internet, and use of technology. A chapter on exegesis has been added, plus new focus on the importance of preaching to a felt need, the need for proclamation in addition to teaching, and developing tools to ensure sermon excellence.
New sermon examples have been added along with a section that responds to critics and looks to the future. He is one of the most respected and recognized teachers of homiletics in North America. Expository and Propositional Preaching Throughout history, expository sermons have been the bread-and-butter sermons of the church.
Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Page One presents the trouble or conflict that takes place in or that underscores the biblical text itself. Page Two looks at similar conflict--sin or brokenness--in our own time. Page Three returns to the Bible to identify where God is at work in or behind the text--in other words, to discover the good news.
Page Four points to God at work in our world, particularly in relation to the situations described in Page Two. Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist. Ships in 15 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Acknowledgments p. All Rights Reserved.