Rhetorical Flourishes . . . .

flourish 1 Like It Or Not . . .


There are speakers who are great at what I would call “Rhetorical Flourishes.”  S. M. Lockridge is one such individual.  If you have never listened to “That’s My God” before, you need to hear it! — link.

Recently, someone had suggested that Dr. Daven Watkins was a speaker-preacher worthy of attention.  Today, it is not difficult to find a good number of messages by a host of individuals who run the gamut of rhetorical ability and differences.

As I was listening to a message by Daven Watkins, given during the Christmas season of 2017, I was reminded about the impact of being able to do what Lockridge is so well known for doing — rhetorical flourishes.

A Flourish: “an instance of suddenly performing or developing in an impressively successful way.”

I attempted to find a video of the message to determine if this was done primarily without much reference to a manuscript.  The video seems unavailable, but in watching other videos of Watkins preaching, I would surmise that it was done primarily from “memory.”


(Clip of “John’s Christmas Story,” by Dr. Daven Watkins @20:38 minute of original message) — Transcription


In John chapter one — it is this Jesus who is identified as a lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

in John chapter two it is this Jesus who begins his public ministry by turning water into wine at a wedding feast in Cain of Galilee

in John Chapter three it is this Jesus who speaks to a man named Nicodemus who comes to him under the cover of night — which incidentally is the first Nick at night and he tells him how to be saved

in John chapter four it is this Jesus who is an equal opportunity Savior, and he has a roadside conversation with a Samaritan woman in a well, and he tells her how to be saved

in John Chapter five it is this Jesus who heals an invalid of some thirty-eight years

in John chapter six it is this Jesus who feeds five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish

John Chapter seven it is this Jesus who says if you believe in me streams of living water will well-up inside of you

then John Chapter eight is this Jesus who gives grace to a woman caught in the act of adultery telling her to go and leave her life of sin

In John chapter nine it is Jesus who heals a man born blind

in John Chapter ten it is this Jesus who identifies himself as the Good Shepherd and the gate

in John Chapter eleven it is this Jesus who raises his best friend Lazarus from the dead

In John Chapter twelve it is this Jesus who triumphantly enters the city of Jerusalem for the very last time in his life

in John Chapter thirteen this is Jesus who becomes a servant, and he washes not the hands but the dirty feet of His disciples

In John Chapter fourteen it is this Jesus who speaks the most explosive statement ever found on his lips — when he says I am the Way the Truth the Life –  no man comes the Father except through me

In John Chapter fifteen it is this is Jesus who says I am the vine you are the branches

in John Chapter sixteen it is this is Jesus who promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who believe

in John Chapter seventeen it is this is Jesus who prays for himself his disciples and for all believers

in John Chapter eighteen this Jesus is arrested

in John Chapter nineteen this Jesus crucified

in John Chapter twenty this Jesus raised from the dead

in a John Chapter twenty-one, this Jesus reinstates a wayward apostle named Peter

These things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Logos and by believing you may have life in His name.

In every page, John is an evangelist



There are some other potential rhetorical flourishes which can be constructed, and some of these possibilities have probably been developed.

  • The Themes of the Various Books of the Bible
  • The Key Life Events of a Biblical Character
    • Daniel
    • Joseph
    • Elijah
    • Elisha
    • Moses
    • Abraham
  • The Scarlet Cord From Genesis to Revelation
  • The Key Events in the Promises to Israel as a Nation
  • The Miracles of Jesus
  • The Types of Miracles of Jesus
  • The Places &Events of the Great Apostle Paul
  • The Events of the Tribulation
  • The Places & Events in the Wilderness Wanderings



“Ethos” is related to the . . . .

  1. Trustworthiness of the speaker
  2. Identification of the audience with the speaker
  3. Reputation of the speaker
  4. Speaker’s sincerity
  5. Speaker’s personal intellectual authority on the topic
  6. Speaker’s communicative abilities

Some “ethos” is a fixed quantity based on what an audience already knows about the speaker.

A speaker’s credibility can also be heightened or lost as someone introduces the speaker.

There is also a “credibility” which is earned while speaking, which is what potential takes place with Daven Watkins.  I say “potentially” only because some may hear him as too practiced in his delivery and he may lose the “sincerity” element of “ethos.”

Nevertheless, as the audience listens to Watkin’s “rhetorical flourish” they are impressed and/or moved.  I believe that they are impressed, and the applause following the fourish supports that evaluation.   There is no applause any other place during the message where the audience should and would have been spiritually moved!

If you take the time to watch a video of Watkins speaking, you will be even more “impressed” with his ability to preach with little to no notes!  I understand that it can sound a little “practiced,” but that can be worked through and adjusted.



In a speaking situation, “ethos” is critical to the audience’s attention, listening, response, and belief in what a speaker has to say.  






Additional Note:

A Great Overview of the four Gospel and their connection to the Christmas story is also found at the beginning of this message – link to this CLIP.

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