Doctrine-Aware Sermons: Preaching Doctrinally-Informed And Relationally-Connected Messages -- By: J. Brian Tucker
JMAT 11:1 (Spring 2007) p. 124
Doctrine-Aware Sermons: Preaching Doctrinally-Informed And Relationally-Connected Messages
Assistant Professor of New Testament
Michigan Theological Seminary, Plymouth, Michigan
This article proposes a homiletic approach which emphasizes the centrality of exegetical rigor and proportionate audience analysis while encouraging pastors to re-vision theology so that they communicate correctly and effectively. The article will use the concept of the abstraction ladder to assist pastors in effectively illustrating and applying the message while finally mining various homiletic approaches for effective communication insights.
Doctrine-Aware Sermons: Exegeting the Text and the Audience
Doctrine-aware preaching focuses the audience on the Scriptures and fills the sermon with relevant application and thoroughly biblical content. This homiletic approach involves more than the usual sightseeing escapades into the biblical text; it is a serious investigation of the primary source for the Christlike life. Here preaching finds that which is authentic, the origins of the modern disillusionment with life, and the practice of authentic Christianity.
Doctrine-aware preaching fully considers the impact of postmodern culture while realizing those within the church may not be influenced by that culture in the same way as those outside the church. It seeks not to alienate one while reaching the other. It becomes a both/and approach to homiletics instead of an either/or approach. This approach continually keeps the two horizons of text and audience in view.
JMAT 11:1 (Spring 2007) p. 125
Exegeting the Audience
Exegeting the audience serves as a conceptual metaphor for this article. Just as there are steps to follow to exegete properly the biblical material, there is a process to follow that can assist in properly ascertaining the effective communication locus for a congregation. This involves assessments, interviews, and various ethnographic methods. Wayne McDill provides this timely reminder: “An effort to understand your audience and connect with their interests must never compromise the biblical message. Audience analysis and adaptation is part of your communication strategy. But it must not be allowed to corrupt sound theology.”1
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