The Intersection Of Homiletics & Rhetorical Theory

These posts reflect the work of . . . . .

  • a seminary graduate (Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indians — M. Div.)
  • a classically educated student in Rhetoric & Public Address (Ohio University, Athens, Ohio — Ph.D.)
  • a state university teacher of fundamentals of speech (Bowling Green State-Ohio, Ohio University, Keiser University-Florida)
  • a Christian college professor of various speech classes (Tennessee Temple University, Grace College, Practical Bible Training Institute)
  • a seminary homiletics/pulpit speech professor & D.Min advisor (Tennessee Temple Seminary, Dallas T.S., BBC – Clarks Summit)
  • a pastor & preacher for over 40 years (36 years as Sr. pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Trenton, NJ)

For many, seminary homiletics class was “Public Speaking 101.” That was my experience as well.

The reason that Homiletics 101, 201, 301 was generally “Preaching Followed By A Video Review and Critique” was that few seminaries and/o Bible colleges employ a classically taught homiletics professor. Actually, they are not very prevalent.

I had just finished by a Master’s degree in Public Speaking at Bowling Green State University. I had also spent that year at B>G.S.U teaching “Fundamentals of Speech 101.”

Immediately upon graduation, I began seminary. It was not until I finished my first seminary class in homiletics that I realized that it was just “Fundamentals of Speech 101” for preachers. I needed to find someone who can offer a class on preaching with a classical rhetorical background.

I used the summer after my first year of seminary to attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. I enrolled for Homiletics II which was taught by Lloyd Perry. It was obvious to me that I had made a good decision. He understood classical rhetorical concepts and brought them into homiletical theory and practice. I still have his textbook, written by Perry & White.

I believe that Dr. Lloyd Perry is one of the few homiletics professors who understood the intersection of classical rhetorical & homiletical theory. I know that there are others (such as Dr. John Reed and Haddon Robinson), but there still are far and few between.

These posts reflect a classically trained, Christian classroom teacher, and long term pulpit practitioner of the art of preaching. I have tried to bring together classical rhetorical concepts and pulpit speech. There are many useful concepts which are rarely taught in many a class on homiletics. I will try to highlight various classical concepts and . . . .

  • bring them to light — from the secular to the sacred
  • explain them without getting too much into the weeds
  • deconstruct and reconstruct them so that they become clear
  • apply them to pulpit speech
  • illustrate them with real-life present-day preaching personalities and examples

I have also included posts which are primarily identified by the title — “Today’s Illustration.” These posts have these features . . . .

  • They feature relatively contemporary and/or well-known topics, events, and individuals.
  • They do a lot of the leg work of research for the reader / user.
  • They include internet “links”. If you want, you can read more about the particular topic of illustration. It also provides some validation for the information and details cited.
  • They include more information that you will probably need, but at the same time it then provides some different directions you can go with the illustration.
  • There is a section which provides ideas, keywords, Bible allusions, and/or biblical subjects which is designed to get you thinking as to the illustration’s possible.