Rhetoric & Homiletics: Try Doing That With Your Children!

Image result for try that  Try That With

Here is another useful “topos.”

We could label it . . . . “Try Doing That With . . . . .”

Here is an example of how topoi work, and how to use this topos  . . . .


“There are those who just chaff under the concept of rules, laws, requirements, regulations, biblical guidelines, obedience.  Some might say it this way . . . .

“We are not Old Testament saints.”
“The Gospel is grace not law.”
“That is legalism.”
“We are under grace, not law.”
“We are free in Christ.”
“That is Old Testament”
“God wants your heart.”
“We are not to be judging one another.”
“What about Christian liberty?”
“It’s about love, not duty.”
“God is more interested in our hearts than our feet.”

Well, try that approach with raising your children!  Tell you children that if their heart is not in it, then their obedience doesn’t matter.  You are not impressed if they merely act of duty and not out of a heart change.

Try that approach with work — If your heart is not in going to work today, stay home.

Try that approach with marriage, or work that needs to get done around the house.

Jesus talked about a man who had two sons — one said he would and did not — the other said he would not and did.  Which one did the Lord commend?

You see that vantage on obedience doesn’t work with families, nor God’s people.

God does want your heart.  That is true, but that is not all the truth.

It is about the heart — It is that, but it is more than that.

As a parent, we want our child’s heart.  That is true, but that is not all the truth.  We are willing to take obedience even if the heart is not in it.  Because we know that the heart takes time, perspective, maturity, growth, understanding, and/or even new birth.


I realize that some may get exercised with the above example.*  Nevertheless, it illustrates “topoi” and shows how they can be used in developing content within a message.

Next time your work on a message, ask yourself . . . . Can I use “Try that approach with . . . .” to clarify a biblical principle, drive a point, illustrate, conclude, introduce, explain, etc.



* How about using this topos in today’s discussion on “pastoral dress.”  That could really get some people exercised!

Try dressing like that when you officiate or attend a wedding.  Let the pastor officiate, or have some people attend your daughter’s wedding — $10,000-$20,000  later — in dockers, flip flops, shorts, a tee or a polo shirt.  Try that then.  I imagine that you would then agree —  that clothes do communicate a message!

Just showing how it works — Image result for emoji wink — maybe?


The classical concept called “Topoi” is one of the most useful rhetorical concepts, which is more often than not unaddressed in the study of homiletics.

Here are most of the links to previous posts.

Topoi:  Becoming An Idea Generator
Topoi: The Topoi of “Place”
Topoi: In It Alone
Topoi: A Critical  Concept Part #1
Topoi: A Critical Concept Part #2
Topoi: Topoi of Process
Topoi: Topoi of Responsibility
Topoi: Vertical & Horizontal
Topoi: Another Topoi: The Missing Link
Topoi: Another Topoi: Contributed or Caused
Topoi: Another Topoi
Topoi: Another Topoi: Definition
Topoi: Here But Not There
Topoi: The Extremes
Topoi: Reality
Topoi:  AnotherUseful Topoi
Topoi: Critical To Options
Topoi: The Motive
Topoi: Intentional or Accidental
Topoi: Degrees
Topoi: Where
Topoi: What
Topoi: Unless

Topoi are what help generate thoughts for . . . .

developing a biblical truth or principle
creating an introduction
clarifying a point
designing a conclusion
explaining a concept
illustrating a point
expanding on an idea



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