Angles of Preaching

This edition of the Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society is a
demonstration of the various angles by which to understand and
appreciate the breadth of approaches to the field of homiletics.
The articles are from around the globe, including authors
from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the
United States. The diverse contributions cover the use of
scripture in the sermons of Martin Lloyd-Jones and W.E.
Sangster at the outbreak of World War II, an analysis of
theocentric preaching during the COVID-19 pandemic,
imagination in expository sermon construction, preaching and
teaching and the doctrine of humanity, and evoking and
invoking gratitude in preaching. In addition, a guest editorial,
and the appreciable gallery of book reviews, which includes a
new feature—voices from the past.

Guest Editorial Reflections on Preaching Sin as an Act of Love

I still recall the first time I sang the hymn, God, Be Merciful to Me.
The opening words of the third verse declare, “I am evil, born in
sin.” As soon as the words left my mouth, my soul balked,
accusing the hymnist of hyperbole, even harshness. Sinful? Yes.
Evil? Hardly. But the word lingered, knocking about the back of
my mind, humbling me, as my conscience questioned my
reaction. “Why not call you evil? What part of you shines as holy
as God? Does your heart not also display the corruption of
Adam, your father?” Soon, self-defense turned to self examination,
accusation to prayer, and defiance to repentance. I
too think evil, speak evil, do evil. If “out of the heart come evil
thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false
witness, [and] slander” (Matthew 15:19), then my heart—the core
of my being—is, in fact, evil. The stark, ugly truth, though hard
to hear, forged in me deeper awareness of my own sin, and thus
deeper appreciation for the Christ who overcomes it.
Would you ever stand in the pulpit and say to your sheep,
“You are evil, born in sin?” My experience with God, Be Merciful
to Me has, over time, affected not only my awareness of the
depths of my own sin, but also the manner in which I preach
about sin. I have grown more direct, more probing, more willing
to say hard things. The world, and some Christians with it, label
preaching about sin “unloving.” But I have come to see that
preaching the stark reality of sin, so far from comprising a
loveless act, represents instead a profound act of love.

How Did Lloyd-Jones and Sangster Use Scripture in Their Preaching Responses to the Outbreak of World War II? Trialling Analytical Approaches to the Homiletical Use of Scripture

Both D. M. Lloyd-Jones and W. E. Sangster are distinguished
figures in evangelical history, looked to as examples of men who
used their preaching to respond to the issues of their day, in
particular the outbreak of World War Two. Their sermons in
response to this traumatic event were published towards the end
of 1939, but the preachers’ collections show an immediate
disparity in the amount of Scripture being used. Analysing the
use of Scripture is key when looking at homiletical exemplars in
terms of learning from them. By the nature of any choices being
both linguistic and theological, any approach must be
interdisciplinary. So, in order to move towards establishing a
methodology for analyzing how Scripture is used within the
sermon, this article trials different methods to assess which may
or may not be useful in constructing a way of systematically
learning from successful preachers of the past.
Using the example of Grounded Theory, which advocates
the creation of inductive categories, a new framework enabling
analysis of the use of Scripture within a sermon has been created,
Scriptural Categorization Analytics, and is applied to the sermon
collections of Sangster and Lloyd-Jones in order to investigate the
effectiveness of this technique as a tool for studying the use of the
Bible within sermons.

Why We Should Not Start at the Beginning But Instead Start at the Ending – In Preaching and Teaching the Biblical Doctrine of Man

This paper argues that preaching and teaching on human nature
should not begin at the beginning, with Gen 1:26–28 and the
Image of God––but with the ending––with Christ, the Second
Adam, the true image of God, in whom the redeemed are being
renewed, and in whom the redeemed will finally be glorified. A
method of whole-brain sermon preparation is presented, in
which narrative, conceptual, and visual tools are employed, with
a view to engaging the listener’s mind, emotions, and will.

Theocentric Therapeutic Preaching: Good News During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all areas of life
including the worship practices of local churches. It caused
trauma, breaking connections, and shattering assumptions about
the safety of the world and (for Christians) assumptions about
God. Forced to take their worship and ministry online, church
leaders continued to support the wellbeing and spiritual
development of their congregants, including through their
preaching. This research analysed the online worship services of
three churches during the first weekend of Aotearoa New
Zealand’s March – May 2020 Lockdown. It drew on Neil
Pembroke’s work on divine therapeia, exploring the theocentric
and therapeutic messages that preachers communicated to their
attenders. Each church demonstrated an integration between the
theocentric and the therapeutic. The theocentric related to God’s
character and attributes (particularly God’s love, attentive
presence and faithfulness), and activity and power. The
therapeutic was expressed by lamenting and acknowledging
pain, offering words of comfort, and inviting response, including
in care for others. For each church, the goal was towards human
flourishing: shalom, or well-being even amid difficult
circumstances. Three implications for the Church are evident.
First, churches can be encouraged to include space for pain and
lament alongside their talk about God. Secondly, the human
need for personal agency might healthily be expressed in service
towards others. Thirdly, the hopeful sense, experienced by many,
that perhaps our church, community or world could be better
post-COVID ought to be encouraged and explored. Suggestions
for further research are also made.

In View of God’s Mercy: Evoking and Invoking Gratitude in Preaching

Although gratitude is sometimes mentioned by homileticians as
a motivator for discipleship, its place in sermons remains
relatively unexplored. This article considers how preachers can
intentionally evoke (draw forth) feelings of thankfulness and
invoke (appeal to) these as the impetus for obedience. This gracegratitude-
obedience pattern may be seen throughout the Bible;
however, recent New Testament scholarship has underscored
the extent to which, in the first century, grace demanded an
active response on the part of recipients. This is evident in Paul’s
letter to the Romans, particularly as he appeals to readers to offer
their bodies to God in view of his mercy—i.e., in gratitude for the
grace described in the preceding chapters. Preachers can follow
his example in their own sermons. However, to avoid moralism,
it is important that listeners are genuinely thankful to God. An
interdisciplinary exploration of gratitude offers a framework for
helping people feel thankfulness that can be used in sermoncrafting.
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola are
examined as a model for evoking and invoking Christian gratitude
by personalizing God’s love in Christ and calling for an active
response. Finally, practical recommendations are offered,
applicable to a wide variety of models and methods.

The Role of Imagination in Expository Sermon Construction

While expository preaching is a biblically faithful model, this
method of preaching can result in boring recitations of research.
In order to bring life to expository sermons, this article argues
that imagination serves an important and necessary role in
expository sermon construction. First, this article presents an
original definition of imagination as it relates to expository
sermons. Second, a biblical survey of terms relating to
imagination reveals that Scripture advocates for its use, as well
as how to use the imagination. Third, this article addresses
potential pitfalls when engaging the imagination and offers
boundaries to ensure appropriate use. Fourth, this article
addresses the level of importance of imagination to the sermon
construction process. Fifth, every aspect of sermon construction
benefits from imagination, as this section demonstrates. Finally,
the reader will receive practical tips for improving imaginative

Book Reviews (23-2)

Preaching to a Divided Nation: A Seven-Step Model for Promoting
Reconciliation and Unity. By Matthew D. Kim and Paul A.
Hoffman. (Reviewer: R. Larry Overstreet.)
Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits are Hurting
the Church. By Katelyn Beaty. (Reviewer: Scott M. Gibson)
Preaching the Manifold Grace of God: Theologies of Preaching in the
Early Twenty-First Century, Vol. 2. Edited by Ronald J. Allen. (Reviewer: Jared E. Alcántara)
Preaching from Inside the Story: A Fresh Journey into Narrative. By Jeffrey W. Frymire. (Reviewer: Kristopher Barnett)
Resonate: How to Preach for Deep Connection. By Lisa Washington Lamb. (Reviewer: Gregory K. Hollifield)
Taking Kierkegaard Back to Church: The Ecclesial Implications of the
Gospel. By Aaron P. Edwards. (Reviewer: Alex Kato)
New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of
Persuasion in and of the New Testament, Second Edition. By Ben Witherington III and Jason A. Myers. (Reviewer: Thomas Kitchen)
The Beauty and Power of Biblical Exposition: Preaching the Literary Artistry and Genres of the Bible. By Douglas Sean O’Donnell and Leland Ryken. (Reviewer: Derek Kitterlin)
Gospel Witness Through the Ages: A History of Evangelism. By David
M. Gustafson. (Reviewer: Todd H. Hilkemann)
What Do We Do When Nobody Is Listening?: Leading the Church in a
Polarized Society. By Robin W. Lovin. (Reviewer: R. Larry Overstreet)
How to Preach Proverbs. By Jared E. Alcántara. (Reviewer: Matthew D. Kim)
Divine Laughter: Preaching and the Serious Business of Humor. By
Karl N. Jacobson and Rolf A. Jacobson. (Reviewer: Christopher Kearney)
The Visual Preacher: Proclaiming an Embodied Word. By Steve
Thomason. (Reviewer: Jonathan Nason)
Speaking Across Generations: Messages That Satisfy Boomers, Xers,
Millennials, Gen Z, and Beyond. By Darrell E. Hall. (Reviewer: Nicali K. Yeputhomi)
Jeremiah and Lamentations: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and
Teaching. By Duane Garrett and Calvin F. Pearson. (Reviewer: Francisco Cotto)
Preaching: A Simple Approach to the Sacred Task. By Daniel Overdorf. (Reviewer: Kevin Maples)
1 & 2 Kings: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching. By David B. Schreiner and Lee Compson. (Reviewer: R. Larry Overstreet)
Psalms, Volume 1: The Wisdom Psalms. By Charles H. Savelle Jr. and W. Creighton Marlowe. (Review: Joshua Peeler)
God is in the House: A Fresh Model for Shaping a Sermon. By John Woods. (Reviewer: Timothy Y. Rhee)
Galatians. By Matthew S. Harmon. (Reviewer: Fieldon J. Thigpen)
Illustrating Well: Preaching Sermons that Connect. By Jim L. Wilson. (Reviewer: Mark O. Wilson)
Charismatic and Expository Preaching: A Case Study of Two Preaching
Methods within the Local Church. By Lewis D. Mathis. (Reviewer: Thomas Rho)
Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition. By Calvin Miller; The Sermon Maker: Tales of a Transformed Preacher. By Calvin Miller. (Reviewer: J. David Duncan)