Friday, December 13, 2013

Stuempfle, 1990, Chapter 1, "The Theological Foundation of the Sermon"

Stuempfle, Herman G, Jr. Preaching Law and Gospel.. Ramsey, NJ: Sigler Press, 1990.

Chapter 1, “The Theological Foundation of the Sermon” pp. 11-19

What makes up a sermon? Of course we are interested in the preacher’s use of language, the structure, imagery and delivery. Yet the theology which underlies the sermon is extremely important. The relationship between the theologian and the preacher is very tense. Theologians study sermons and commentaries as they analyze interpretation of Scripture. Preachers in turn study theologians. Both look to the other for guidance. Although some preachers will affirm that they are not theologians, this is false. All preachers are using and teaching theology. The question is the faithfulness of that work.

Stuempfle identifies two basic frameworks which theologians have recognized in sermons. One, identified by Kyle Haselden, is that a sermon will describe man’s peril, announce God’s promise, and proclaim God’s work in Christ to implement the promise. The other analysis, by Heinrich Ott, is a structure moving from man’s sin to Christ’s redemption, then showing the obligation the believer has due to God’s love.  The first structure is typical of the Lutheran reformation while the second is found in Calvinism. Both emphasize God’s redemptive work. Both require the preacher to rightly identify God’s demands and God’s work of salvation.

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