Lecture 4 – Constituent Elements- Introduction

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4. The constituent elements of each kind of sermon

Introduction

1) Definition of the key words

Constituent

Elements

2) A description of the process leading to the position proposed and defended.

Examples of the differing opinions concerning the “constituent elements” of a sermon.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 138-140;

William G. T. Shedd, Homiletics & Pastoral Theology, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), p. 156;

John A. Broadus, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005), p. 266.

The fundamental reason for these differences

A proposed resolution of these differences

See Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 139-140.

a. The introduction or exordium of a sermon

1) The various functions of the introduction

– Some analogies: appetizer, revving of engines of a plane before takeoff, porch

a) It should direct the minds of our hearers to the subject or substance of
the sermon.

 Acts 2:12-16

b) It should excite the interest of our hearers in the subject or substance of the sermon.

 Acts 17:22-23

John C. Ryle, Christian Leaders of the 18th Century, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), p. 203;

William G. T. Shedd, Homiletics & Pastoral Theology, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), p. 157.

c) It should warm the affections or emotions of our hearers to the subject or substance of the sermon.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 141;

 Austin Phelps, The Theory of Preaching, (New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons, 1882), p. 223.

d) It should sometime secure the goodwill of hearers toward you as a person and a preacher.

Austin Phelps, The Theory of Preaching, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1882), pp. 226-228.

Acts 22:1-3

2) General guidelines for construction of the introduction

a) Under ordinary circumstances do not force it until the main part of the sermon is well in hand.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 145;

Austin Phelps, The Theory of Preaching, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1882), p. 279

b) Make it pertinent to or comfortably lead into the main subject of the sermon.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 142-144

c) Do not allow it to steal the main substance of the body of the sermon.

d) Keep it modest and realistic.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 144-145;

W. E. Sangster, The Craft of the Sermon, (London: EpworthPress, 1959), p. 116.

e) Make it as brief as possible.

W. E. Sangster, The Craft of the Sermon, (London: Epworth Press, 1959), p. 125;

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 145.

f) Make it as interesting and arresting as possible.

W. E. Sangster, The Craft of the Sermon, (London: Epworth Press, 1959), pp. 126-127.

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