Following my post yesterday, I’d like to share some thoughts from Austin Tucker (Liberty Seminary). It is his conviction that homiletical history is ignored, in part, because homiletics professors are appointed by seminaries based on skewed criteria. According to Tucker, seminaries will choose somebody based on the model of dynamic delivery they provide, secondarily based on academic criteria and only then any sense of homiletical training or background. Personally I suspect that any “skewing” also relates to budgets: after all, many Bible schools are limited once the main positions are in place – New Testament, Old Testament, Languages, Theology, History, etc. – so surely someone can just “cover” homiletics, or perhaps a local pastor can teach his personal approach? Either way, homiletics background is often lacking in formal training.
So what does Tucker suggest? He mentions a friend who picks a preacher each year to read a biography and read available sermons. The benefits are four-fold:
1. It adds homiletical variety to our preaching, keeping us from becoming Brother Obvious.
2. It allows us who preach to others to sit at the feet of those who can preach to us for our spiritual enrichment.
3. It provides a golden vein of possibilities to enrich our own preaching. He quotes Grady Davis’ caution regarding the hijacking of illustrations from others. Such illustrations are like “‘brightly colored kites pulled from the wind of somebody else’s thought’ and entangled in the branches of our sermons.”
4. Diligence in this pursuit restores the perspective that preaching really is a pastor’s priority in the midst of the numerous demands.
Please don’t read this post as being advice from me. I can’t speak with authority on this since I have not diligently studied preachers of yesteryear. But perhaps I’m convincing myself by these posts!