Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
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Instructor: Dr. Pablo A. Jiménez
Mailing Address: 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA 01982
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Skype: drpablojimenez
Preaching the Gospel of Jesus is a daunting challenge, particularly in the Hispanic and Caribbean context, which is multilingual and multiethnic, postmodern and postcolonial. This reality shapes preaching, as the main means the Church employs to interpret and communicate the Gospel.
This course will seek to offer the student an introduction to the practice of preparing and delivering expository sermons, taking into consideration our particular context. It is our objective to provide the student the tools and processes necessary to prepare biblical, clear, edifying, and even creative sermons. Learning experiences include reading, discussion, lecture, exegesis, practice preaching, watching sermons, and self-critique.
The aim of the course is empowering students to develop their full potential as preachers. At the end of the course the students should be able to:
- Present a coherent theology of preaching.
- Understand preaching as a communicative process.
- Employ contextual hermeneutic perspectives in the preparation of their sermons.
- Design effective sermons.
- Evaluate the impact of the postmodern and postcolonial condition on contemporary homiletics.
- Present effectively their sermons.
Course Textbooks: (All available through Amazon’s Kindle Store)
Robinson, Haddon. Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014. ASIN: B00IGDKNI2
Stanley, Andy. Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to irresistible Communication. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Press, 2006.. ASIN: B001E2WM54
Required Readings: (To be distributed by the professor)
Jiménez, Pablo A. “And the Word Became Flesh: Homiletics and Evangelical Preaching in Hispanic Churches”, In The Hispanic Evangelical Church in the United States: History, Ministry and Challenges, edited by Samuel Pagán. Elk Grove, CA: National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, 2016, pp. 299-326.
_____. “If You Just Close Your Eyes: Postcolonial Perspectives on Preaching from the Caribbean” Homiletic Vol. 40 No. 1, (2016): 22-28.
_____. “Toward a Postcolonial Homiletic: Justo L. González Contribution to Homiletics.” In Hispanic Christian Thought At the Dawn of the 21st Century: Apuntes in Honor of Justo L. González, edited by Alvin Padilla, Roberto Goizueta & Eldin Villafañe. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006, pp. 159-167, 305-306.
Graves, Mike & David J. Schlafer. What is the Shape of Narrative Preaching? Essays in Honor of Eugene Lowry. St. Louis, Abingdon Press, 2008. ASIN: B001NEKAF2
Lowry, Eugene. The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form. Westminster John Knox Press, 1980. ASIN: B00SLHGXEQ
Kuck, David W. Preaching in the Caribbean: Building up a People for Mission. Kingston” BY the author, 2007. (No ISBN)
Stott, John R. W. Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982. ASIN: B001Y35JB2
Mitchell, Henry H. Celebration and Experience in Black Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010 (Revised edition). ASIN: B0052EFW66
Schlafer, David J. What Makes this Day Different?: Preaching Grace on Special Occasions. Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 1998. ASIN: B009D16VH8
Thomas, Frank. They Never Like to Quit Praisin’ God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press/United Church Press, 1997. ASIN: B00DD045UA
Travis, Sarah. Decolonizing Preaching: The Pulpit as Postcolonial Space. Eugene, OR: Cascade Press, 2014.
Willhite, Keith & Scott M. Gibson. The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching: Connecting the Bible to People. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998. ASIN: B009M6T1YY
Wiseman, Karyn L. I Refuse to Preach a Boring Sermon: Engaging the 21st Century Listener. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press, 2013. ISBN-10: 0829819568
All written assignments should be typed, double-spaced and written in a 12-point font such as Arial, Helvetica or New Times Roman. Formats: Send your paper in MS Word (extension doc or docx) or Adobe Acrobat (extension pdf). All assignments will have a maximum value of 100 points. No late work will be accepted. If you experience illness or emergency, you must request an extension, sending an email to the instructor. Your email on this issue must be an official extension petition.
- Class preparation and participation: All students must read the textbooks before the first day of class. Each student must also participate in class discussions. Although no paper is required, the instructor will grant a grade for this assignment.
- Biblical Interpretation: Study ONE biblical text from the list included below, following the key questions listed in THE THREE STEPS SYSTEM (enclosed as an appendix). Your paper should have no less than three and no more than five pages. DUE: October 13.
- Genesis 32:22-32 (Narrative)
- Psalm 130 (Poetic Literature)
- Isaiah 5 (Prophetic Literature)
- Matthew 13.1-9 (Parable)
- Mark 1.21-28 (Miracle Story)
- Luke 5:1-11 (Discipleship Story)
- Romans 5.1-11 (Epistle)
- Revelation 4 (Apocalyptic text)
- Sermon Outline: Write a sermon outline or manuscript based on the text studied for Assignment #2 and using the system taught in class. DUE: October 14.
- Final Exam: Take an exam on the sermon theory taught in class. DUE: October 15.
- Sermon Manuscript: Develop your outline into a full sermon manuscript of no less than 1,000 and no more than 2,000 words, using the system taught in class. DUE: October 26.
|A||100 – 95 %||500-475|
|A-||94 – 90 %||474-450|
|B+||89 – 87 %||449-435|
|B||86 – 84 %||434-420|
|B-||83 – 80 %||419-400|
|C+||79 – 77 %||399-385|
|C||76 – 74%||384-370|
|C-||73 – 70%||369-350|
|D+||69 – 67 %||349-335|
|D||66 – 64 %||334-320|
|F||63 – 0 %||319-0|
- Master degree level students may request to be graded on a “Pass/Fail” grading basis, using the link below (this option is not available for Diploma students): http://www.gordonconwell.edu/hmp/current/documents/PassFailPetition.pdf
|Topic||Required Readings||Suggested Readings|
|Basic Definitions||Robinson, Chapter 1|
|Theology for Preaching||Jiménez,||Davis, Kuck, Stott|
|Communication Principles||Stanley, Chapters 1 to 10||Wiseman|
|Biblical Interpretation for Preaching||Robinson, Chapters 2 to 4||Willhite & Gibson|
|Sermon Rudiments||Robinson, Chapter 5|
|Sermon Outline||Robinson, Chapters 6 to 9|
|Basic Sermon Forms||Graves, Lowry, Schlafer|
|Sermon Delivery||Robinson, Chapter 10, Stanley, Chapters 11 to 17||Mitchell, Thomas|
|Evaluation & Planning|
The Three-Step System
Biblical Interpretation for Preaching
I. Point of contact: First Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons
Begin with prayer. Ask God to make you sensible to the Word and to speak through your sermon to the congregation. Keep a devotional atmosphere throughout the exercise.
Read the text several times. Work primarily with the translation that has become part of your own being. Compare it with other translations for the purpose of comparing and contrasting emphasis, movement, and structure. Do not use secondary sources for this exercise.
Read the text once more, aloud and with feeling. Only then, proceed to answer the following questions.
- What are the questions that this text sparks?
- What feelings surface as you read the text?
- What memories does the text cause you to recall?
- Imagine that you are immersed in the world of the text:
- What do you see?
- What do you hear?
- What do you smell?
- What do you touch?
- What do you taste?
- How does it feel to be in that world?
- Has your perception of the text changed? How?
- What is this text about? List the topics and ideas suggested by the text.
II. Explanation: Second Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons
After a direct interaction with the text, turn to secondary sources such as commentaries, dictionaries, and other homiletic aids. Insofar as possible, identify the historical context in which the text is found. Then, proceed to answer the following questions.
- What was the situation of the community to whom the text was written?
- Identify the form, the function and the literary structure of the text.
- Note the key words of the text. How are they used in this particular document?
- Have you found answers to you questions about the text?
- What are the mayor theological claims of the text?
- Enumerate the topics suggested by the text.
III. Interpretation: Third Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons
Move once again to the present, exploring the message of the text for the contemporary Church. Make the hermeneutic movement self-consciously and critically. Then, proceed to answer the following questions.
- Establish a correlation between your social location and the social location of the text. What realities function in our world in the same way as in the world of the text?
- Identify the elements of salvation. Identify the sources of conflict.
- Who is the powerful? Who are powerless?
- In order to interpret the text appropriately, with whom do we should identify with in the text?
- Does the function of the text in its ancient setting suggest a possible function for our sermon in our setting?
- Does the form or the literary structure of the text suggest a given design for the sermon?
- Does the text suggest any guidelines for contemporary pastoral action?
- What are the “good news” for the congregation? For the Church at large? For the world?
- Enumerate the possible “sermons-in-a-sentence” suggested by the text. Pick one for your sermon and save the others for future sermons.