God asks us to preach the whole counsel of God. Our congregations ask us to be interesting and creative. How can we do both? By recognizing that God inspired the words AND the genres of Scripture, and allowing both the words and the genre to influence our sermons.
For many preachers, unfortunately, seminary training in preaching merely furnished them with a set of homiletical cookie-cutters, which they routinely mashed down upon the dough of the text, and presto! Out pops a little star, or a tree, or a gingerbread man… No matter that the text doesn't want to go into these forms, the poor thing is mashed and tortured until it is made to say things it never intended to say.
- Clyde Fant, Preaching For Today (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), 110.
You will break free from the boredom of 'cookie-cutter' preaching by learning how to preach the genres of scripture with the integrity, imagination and power intended by the original authors. You will learn to preach sermons that are pleasing in heaven as well as on earth.
Year One: Understanding the Challenge (Edwards, Mathews, and Cimbora)
During the first week you will wrestle with what it means to create a 'biblical sermon'. You and the others in the cohort will work through a number of passages in order to understand the main idea of the text. The sermon you preach at the end of the week will be evaluated by the professor and by others in the class. Since preachers always speak to particular people, the second week will focus upon understanding your audience. With the assistance of Dr. Alice Mathews, and Dr. David Cimbora, the class will wrestle with how sermons can respond to challenges such as gender, age and culture. You will discover how talk to your listeners--not at them.
Year Two: Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible (Narratives) (Edwards)
In the first week you will learn how to preach in the dominant language of our culture–story. Dr. Edwards will show you how to understand and unleash the power of Old Testament biblical narratives by focusing on their unique literary features. This emphasis on narrative will continue during the second week of this residency by examining Gospel literature. During the mornings you will discover the literary dynamics used by the Gospel writers and see how the different audiences influenced the shape and content of the various Gospels. During the afternoons, Dr. Edwards will demonstrate how to interpret and apply the Gospels to contemporary audiences. You will also discover how the homiletic strategies utilized by the preachers of the Book of Acts can energize your ministry.
Year Three: Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible (Apocalyptic, Poetic, Prophetic, Law and Proverb) (Edwards, Hultberg & Garrett)
With Dr. Edwards and Dr. Hultberg as your guides, your first week will be an adventure into the apocalyptic literature of Scripture. You will learn how to interpret and communicate this frequently misunderstood and often ignored genre of Scripture. During this final week of residency Dr. Garrett and Dr. Edwards will lead you on an exegetical and homiletical survey of poetic, prophetic, law and wisdom literature.
The Faculty Mentor
Dr. J. Kent Edwards is a Professor of Preaching & Leadership at Talbot School of Theology.
Dr. Edwards is Professor of Preaching & Leadership at Talbot School of Theology and author of Deep Preaching and Effective First–Person Biblical Preaching. He is founding pastor of Oasis Community Church and President/CEO of CrossTalk Global. Dr. Edwards is past president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, founding editor of The Journal of Christian Ministry, and has served as director of the Doctor of Ministry programs at Talbot School of Theology and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Dr. Alice Mathews
Dr. Mathews is the Lois W. Bennett Distinguished Professor Emerita of Educational Ministries and Women’s Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is currently the Academic Dean for Christian University GlobalNet. Since 1990 she has co-hosted the daily RBC radio program, Discover the Word, with Mart DeHaan and Haddon Robinson. She is author of several Bible studies for women as well as several books.
Dr. Cimbora is Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training at Rosemead School of Psychology. He is currently co-leading a team with Dr. Christina Lee exploring the development of cultural identity, and specifically, the development of racial identity. He has published articles in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity and the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He has also contributed a chapter in Psychology of Moods, edited by A.V. Clark.
Dr. Hultberg is Assistant Professor of Bible Exposition and New Testament at Talbot School of Theology. He combines academic research in the Apocalypse, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and New Testament theology with a strong desire to see students become biblically oriented disciples of Jesus Christ. He has published several critical book reviews in New Testament studies and presented papers at the annual conference of the Evangelical Theological Society. He is also a contributor for The Apologetics Study Bible from Broadman and Holman.
Dr. Duane Garrett
Dr. Garrett is the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and also teaches at Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary. He has also taught at Bethel Seminary, Mid-America Baptist Seminary, Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, and Korea Baptist Seminary in South Korea. His books include Song of Songs in the Word Biblical Commentary; A Modern Grammar for Classical Hebrew; Angels and the New Spirituality; Authority and Interpretation; Rethinking Genesis; and Hosea and Joel in the New American Commentary. He also serves as the general editor for The Archaeological Study Bible from Zondervan Press.