Christopher Wood-Archer

Title: A Means of Grace: Human Rhetoric and Divine Agency in Preaching.

In preaching, the preacher speaks, the listeners hear, but it is God who acts! Because the preacher is the most accessible part of that process, and because the preacher’s activity is easiest to observe and modify, homiletics has most often addressed what the preacher is doing. The purpose of homiletics is to assist the preacher in the writing and delivery of better sermons. Often it has turned to disciplines outside of theology to provided theoretical frameworks to understand how preaching works and to give practical advice. The problem is that God’s activity in preaching is almost always lost in such reflections. The purpose of my research is to ask what God might be doing while the preacher is speaking. It will ask what God intends in the sermon and therefore seek a theological definition of what good preaching is. This would propose that homiletics move away from purely pragmatic definitions of preaching effectiveness and ask how should the preacher speak in the presence of God’s action. What kind of rhetoric is appropriate for Christian preaching.

Supervisors: Dr Julian Gotobed and Dr Jenny Leith