Bible--Old Testament--Homiletic use

SHOULD WE CURSE IN CHURCH? APPROACHES FOR, BENEFITS OF, AND CAUTIONS AGAINST PREACHING IMPRECATORY PSALMS IN CHRISTIAN WORSHIP

Author
Scott Kenworthy D.Min.
Abstract
Scripture teaches that the whole Bible is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). Yet one genre of biblical literature remains largely unpreached in the local church—the imprecatory psalms. Some notable church leaders have discouraged Christians from praying these psalms in private let alone utilizing them in corporate worship. But if all Scripture is the inspired Word of God, then the imprecatory psalms hold value for both the Christian life and the ministry of local congregations despite the difficulties they present. This project seeks to supplement the available theological literature by preaching the curse psalms in a local church and discerning their homiletical impact. The effect of the Word preached was measured quantitatively through a pair of congregational surveys as well as qualitatively through both weekly focus groups and self-reflection essays. The gathered data indicates a positive correlation between hearing sermons from the imprecatory psalms and 1) a Christian’s intimacy with God in prayer, 2) their appreciation for the power and effect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and 3) the local church’s commitment to confronting injustice. The data also raises concerns about potential negative outcomes when preaching the imprecatory psalms. Drawing upon both positive and negative feedback, the researcher offers guidance concerning homiletical approaches, spiritual benefits, and pastoral cautions when delivering sermons from these oft-ignored texts. The paper ends by applying the project’s findings to Miroslav Volf’s memoir Exclusion and Embrace, a theological reflection on having enemies, in hopes of tracing the initial contours of a pastoral theology of imprecation for the church.

"Hearing Habakkuk: Lessons on Accurately Applying the Text From the Turkana, Kenya Context"

Author
Graham Robert Blaikie D.Min.
Abstract
One of Jesus’ favorite sayings, “He who has ears, let him hear,” highlights the divine expectation that the message heard must be heeded—it has to be applied.

“Application” refers to the requirements of the biblical text, and our obedient response to those requirements. Accurate application, therefore, involves “hearing”/heeding what the text requires of us today—but only after we have heard what it required of the original recipients.

This project seeks to explore what constitutes accurate application from within the context of the book of Habakkuk, which a group of Turkana pastors were focusing on in their Bible Pathways training program held at Share International’s SEND Center in Lodwar, Kenya, in July 2017. Habakkuk was the eighth of nine Pathways preaching modules taught to the Turkana pastors over a three-year period by a team of six U.S.-based pastors, including the project writer.

While excellent in many ways, the Pathways curriculum is weak in application. And so, the book of Habakkuk and Turkana provided an excellent context in which to formulate and then test four principles of application.

The project includes a focus on the original applicational intent of the author—a topic that has received minimal treatment in the literature on application. It also explores the significance of what we have termed the “applicational trajectory” of the text (best seen in the distinct applications of Habakkuk 2:4 in its three appearances in the New Testament). It examines the current debate on deriving principles from the text. And it looks at how these principles might be contextualized to Turkana.

The project fieldwork includes observations as and discussions after the Turkana pastors preached, a quiz, presentation of a two-day a seminar titled “Principles of Application from Habakkuk,” a follow-up focus group, and personal interviews.

Even To Our Graying Years: Faithfulness and Renewal In An Aging Church

Author
Jeffrey Colarossi D.Min.
Abstract
My Project in Ministry has begun a conversation that will, with God’s help, work toward the renewal of an aging congregation, Westwood First Presbyterian Church, offering a pastoral care plan to calm members’ anxiety and fear over the challenges threatening the church, and an action plan necessary for the church to be able to live faithfully, into a hopeful future, trusting in God. Engaging Biblical texts, Reformed Polity, the Spirituality of Aging, and key theologies––Practical, Vocation, Discipleship and Life-Long Learning––the project offers the church a clear vision for the future and a tangible plan to organize, energize and engage the congregation. The implementation of the project, involving the Worship and Christian Education ministries of the church, as well as the qualitative social research methodologies of self-report questionnaires and guided interviews, enabled the project to clearly communicate that vision and plan, and convey the sense of validation needed to establish participants trust, so crucial to the success of the project. The enthusiastic response, participation and support of the church throughout the process––particularly its leadership––offers a sense of confidence that the conversation will continue well into the future.

LET THE ANCIENT STORIES LIVE: USING NARRATIVE ANALYSIS AND A CHRIST-CENTERED HERMENEUTIC FOR PREACHING OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

Author
Mark Pluimer D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to increase the competence of preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative. To achieve this goal, the project explored mainly two key topics: narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic. Guided by the principles and tools of narrative analysis, preachers and Bible teachers are able to discern the main message of narratives as originally intended by the biblical author. Guided by the principles and tools of a Christ-centered hermeneutic, preachers and Bible teachers are able to connect the message of narratives to Christ authentically, without distorting or violating the original intent of the narrative. These considerations of narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic culminated in a working three-step method for handling Old Testament narratives faithfully in preaching or teaching.

The project implemented the proposed principles by developing a manual, the content of which was taught in a twelve-hour course to a group of preachers and Bible teachers. Pre-course competence was assessed and compared to post-course competence by means of a focus group, surveys, a course evaluation, and written work on assigned Old Testament narrative texts.

The results showed a demonstrable increase in competence among participants. The principles and tools presented in the manual/course were shown to be valuable for helping preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative.

The effects of preaching a series of expository sermons on the mission of God from 1 Samuel 1-12 on the young adults' perception of their own identity and purpose in life in relation to God's larger story

Author
Hiap Siang Goh
Abstract
Eleven messages were preached employing Christopher Wright's missional hermeneutics grounded on the realities of who God is, God's story, and God's people. A pretest and posttest quantitative survey and well as a phenomenological study conducted at the end of the sermon series showed that the project had indeed influenced the young adults' preception of their identity and purpose.

Leading the local church towards increased effectiveness in preaching and teaching Hebrew narratives

Author
Bryan David Anderson
Abstract
Effective narrative preaching takes a special set of hermeneutical tools. This project sought to increase the effectiveness of teaching and preaching Hebrew narratives in the local church via a five week seminar to equip participants in discovering the central thrust of Old Testament narratives. Goals and objectives were established, relevant data gathered, analyzed from volunteers. An analysis of the data revealed notable improvements in the participants' overall effectiveness in teaching narrative. Finally, lessons learned through the execution of the project have been processed and suggestions for improvement have been incorporated in the plans for leading the seminar in the future.

Christ-centered preaching from Old Testament narratives

Author
Mark C Livingston
Abstract
Old Testament preaching is lacking in the following ways: most pastors are not doing it, or most pastors are doing it in the wrong way. Pastors fail to preach the Old Testament because it has cultural, linguistic, and hermeneutical challenges. Pastors preach it incorrectly when they fail to connect it with Christ. The purpose of this study was to understand the Old Testament sermon preparation process employed by pastors who preach Christ-centered sermons. Christ-centered Old Testament preaching is often neglected, and therefore the subject is relevant to every Christian preacher of God's word, and by extension to all congregations. This study employed a qualitative design using a semi-structured interview process with six preachers from various Presbyterian and Baptist denominations. The findings of this study revealed the need for a clear understanding of the Biblical Theology, a Christ-centered conviction concerning the Old Testament, diligent study from the pastor, the use of study aids, a covenanal framework, and a desire to connect the original message with today's congregations.

Preaching the experience of hope: from lament to celebration

Author
Kristopher Scott Hewitt
Abstract
We live in an age that thirsts for good news, but without lament there is only shallow praise. Preaching a lament opens listeners to deal with the real issues that burden them. This thesis proposes specifically the reclaiming of the psalms of lament in preaching following the homiletic design for celebration of Frank Thomas. With this integration the preacher is both the leader of lament and celebrant of God's presence. Through personal experience, along with feedback from the congregation, I have found that the movement from lament to celebration enables an authentic encounter with God, our source of hope.

Enhancing pastoral preaching in a local church through use of the Old Testament in sermon application

Author
David L Medley
Abstract
This dissertation seeks to answer how sermon application from Old Testament narratives should be developed. The writer advocates a trifocal hermeneutical method (analysis, synthesis, and application). The writer develops the category of application by researching approaches used by scholars in related fields, surveys methodologies and critiques them. An application worksheet for pastors to develop sermon application from Old Testament narratives is presented. The process utilizes four steps: investigation, significance, transformation, and enablement. This process addressed both congregational life (corporate application) and believers lives (individual application) with the intent that Christ-enabled transformation occurs through the preaching of Old Testament narratives.

The place of the Ten Commandments in the Church of God pulpit

Author
Matthew A Taylor
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which Church of God preachers use the Ten Commandments to address their socio-political and ecclesiastical contexts. What may appear to some as a crisis of ambiguity about the nature and place of the Ten Commandments in the public and religious spheres in America could be regarded as an opportunity for clarity on the part of preachers. The study addresses the need for Church of God preachers to engage in cultural dialogue through a fresh preaching of the Ten Commandments. The literature review surveys scholarly works regarding the context and meaning of the Decalogue in the Old and New Testaments, the meaning of the Commandments in light of a corrosive postmodern value system, and views of scholars and preachers regarding how to preach the Ten Commandments. The study included interviews with six Church of God Movement preachers, with the goal of learning about their experences related to the place of the Decalogue in the pulpit. The study asked how the preachers handled the Decalogue, exposited the Commandments, and trained congregations in discipleship.
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