Apologetics for Homiletics – Part 3

So the critical matter of the role of the Spirit raised issues concerning evaluation of past “fruit,” and more importantly, the dynamic tension between good stewardship and self-reliance.  Now another objection:

Doesn’t homiletics create a methodological strait jacket? People with years of experience in reading a passage, soaking in it and then coming up with something to say may resist a more “formulaic” approach.  After all, “soak then say” preaching methodology seems a lot more flexible than Haddon Robinson’s 10 stages, or Mead’s 8, or Ramesh Richard’s 7, or Bryan Chappell’s 14, etc.  Here are a couple of thoughts to consider:

1. Good methodology recognizes the natural progression from text to sermon, it does not impose a rigid process. When I teach homiletics I follow the order of the stages, but I regularly recognize that thoughts may come for any part of the process at any time.  Hence it is good to work on loose sheets of paper so insights and ideas can be noted in the appropriate place, before returning to the current stage in the progression.  While thoughts may come randomly at times, there is reason for the order.  One cannot and should not be forming the message before understanding the passage.  In the first four stages one cannot determine the passage idea before studying the passage’s content and intent (intent becoming evident primarily from content), etc.  In the last four stages, there has to be a message before there can truly be an introduction or conclusion, and the message structure cannot precede determination of the idea, etc.  The order is logical, not arbitrary, it recognizes the progression, it doesn’t impose restriction.

Again, there is more to say, but I will defer that to the next post.

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