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Styles of Preaching

Posted Thursday, March 01, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Culture and Theology  

I have decided to start a new series. This new series is entitled: Stupid things evangelicals say. The general spirit of the series is to show how our conservatism blinds us to reality. If any of you fellow theoblogians have any contributions, please add to the series. The first entry is from a review of an excellent book: The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative by Steven Mathewson. Mathewson notes that often an inductive style is good for preaching, where the main point of the sermon is developed over the course of the sermon and stated explicitly only at the end. In contrast to this, the classic evangelical sermon is deductive, where the main point is stated clearly at the beginning and the end. But the reviewer says the following about this:

    It is at this point that some readers, including the present reviewer, have their greatest tension with Mathewson's suggestions. Although induction is the best approach to the study of OT narratives, is it the best means of exposition? The biblical text is an objective revelation from God whose meaning needs to be explained to a contemporary audience. For example, Ezra and the Levites "read from the book, from the law of God [which included narrative], explaining to give the sense so that they understood the reading" (Neh 8:8). The inductive, "moves" approach implies that the hearer will discover the sense from a sermon, whereas a deductive, "point" approach implies that the expositor gives the sense to the hearer. It seems that the latter approach is more consistent with the biblical mandate.

Well, I guess the author of Chronicles really missed this biblical principle. What was he thinking? That his audience would understand what his points were even if he didn't state them anywhere? I sure am glad we have only good deductive sermons today!

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