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The Homiletic of All Believers

A Conversational Approach to Proclamation and Preaching

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Westminster John Knox Press
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Preaching, says professor and author O. Wesley Allen Jr., should be considered as a form of conversation. The church, after all, is a community of conversation that exists in part to interpret God's purposes for the world and to participate in those purposes. The idea of the sermon as a conversation, then, is not simply a style or form of preaching but an integral expression of the nature and purpose of the church. Allen proposes that the sermon should take on the character of a conversation with the congregation. The preacher does this by incorporating an exploration of a text, doctrine, or situation with the give-and-take among different voices that marks genuine conversation. Through attentive listening to multiple voices in the Bible, Christian tradition, congregation, and beyond, the preacher seeks to help the congregation come to the most adequate interpretation of God's presence and purposes. Allen also proposes that sermons themselves, over weeks and months, can and should be in conversation with each other, thereby having a cumulative effect over time. Allen not only proposes this new concept of preaching but also carefully demonstrates its practical application. This helpful book for clergy and seminary students includes sample sermons.

O. Wesley Allen, Jr. is Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

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From Ecumensim (No. 157/158, March/June 2005)
Sewanee Theological Review (Vol. 49, No. 2, Easter 2006)
Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society (Fall 2005) "Even though Allen's book is though provoking and does have some practical import, he falls prey to what de decries in his forebears--a rather uncritical acceptance of the current epistemological paradigm."
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