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 as well as the genres of Scripture, and allowing both 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)
During the first week you will wrestle with what it means to create a 'biblical sermon'. You and the others in the seminar 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, the class will wrestle with how sermons can respond to the 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 and Epistles) (Edwards, Arnold & Sunukjian)
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 biblical narratives by focusing on unique literary features. During the final week of this residency you will engage in a fresh re-examination of the epistles. With the assistance of Dr. Clint Arnold, you will discover how an understanding of the cultural background and literary features of an epistle can unlock its meaning. As a group, Drs. Edwards, Arnold and Sunukjian will wrestle exegetically and homiletically with various biblical passages and engage the class in their deliberations. Each week will conclude with students preaching sermons from the genres they have been studying.
Year Three: Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible (Apocalyptic, Poetic, Prophetic, Law and Proverb) (Edwards, Hultberg & Garrett)
With Drs. Edwards & 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 Drs. Duane Garrett and Kent 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 the Director of Talbot's Doctor of Ministry Program as well as the Professor of Preaching & Leadership at Talbot School of Theology.
Besides Directing the Doctor of Ministry program, Dr. Edwards is also the author of Effective First-Person Biblical Preaching (Zondervan, 2005) and Deep Preaching (B&H Academic, 2009). He brings 25 years of experience as a successful pastor and church-planter to the classroom. Dr. Edwards serves as an Executive Board member of ADME (the Association for Doctor of Ministry Education) is the founding and general editor of The Journal of Christian Ministry, and is past president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society.
Dr. Alice Mathews is the recipient of the Lois W. Bennett Distinguished Associate Professor of Educational Ministries and Women's Ministries. Dr. Mathews brings to the classroom nearly thirty years' experience in ministries to and by women in church, parachurch and seminary settings. In the 1980's she set up a comprehensive program for women's studies at Denver Seminary. She is widely known for her participation in the daily Bible-teaching radio program, Discover the Word. She is also the author of Bible study books for women including A Woman God Can Use and A Woman God Can Teach.
Dr. Clint Arnold is the Professor of New Testament Language and Literature as well as the Chair of the New Testament Department at Talbot School of Theology. Dr. Arnold's interests lie in the historical and cultural context of the New Testament. He is the author of numerous books, editor of Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, published in Christianity Today and is a regular columnist for Discipleship Journal.
Dr. Don Sunukjian is the Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Homiletics and Chair of the Christian Ministry and Leadership Department at Talbot School of Theology. Dr. Sunjukian's life-long love is preaching and his passion is to see God's Word presented with accuracy, clarity, interest and relevance. With doctorates in theology and communication and 14 years as a senior pastor, he brings both scholarship and experience to the classroom.
Dr. Alan Hultberg is the Assistant Professor of Bible Exposition & 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.
Dr. Duane Garrett currently teaches at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also taught at Korean Baptist Seminary in Taejeon, South Korea and Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Alberta, Canada. Dr. Garrett has published a number of books including Authority and Interpretation and Rethinking Genesis.