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Preaching, History of.

1. Christian preaching has as its content the Word of God (2 Ti 4:2), esp. the Gospel (1 Co 2:2). Purposes of Christian preaching: to bring the sinner to a knowledge of his sins (Ro 3:20) and to repentance and faith (Mk 1:14–15; 16:15–16); to strengthen the Christian (2 Ptr 3:18; Ro 12; 15:4); to give glory to God (2 Ptr 3:18).

2. Great OT preachers include Isaiah, Amos, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Jonah.

3. The great preacher was Jesus Christ (Mt 4:17; Mk 1:14–15; Lk 4:43–44).

4. Jesus ordained, or appointed, the 12 disciples to preach (Mk 3:14). The 70 were sent with the message: “The kingdom of God is come nigh” (Lk 10:1–16). The ch. was commissioned to preach (Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47).

5. Those who were scattered in the persecution by Saul “went everywhere preaching the Word” (Acts 8:4). In course of time, and largely spearheaded by Paul, Christian preaching spread throughout the Roman empire.

6. We know little of the preaching of the first 2 cents.; it was informal and by men who had no special training but whose heart was aflame with love of Christ. Origen* allegorized too much, as did many others after him. Theol. schools were est. Preaching expanded tremendously from Constantine* I to J. Chrysostom* and Augustine* of Hippo (whose De doctrina Christiana, Book IV, often called the 1st book on homiletics, influenced preaching at least till ca. 600).

7. Ceremonialism and the mass overshadowed preaching 600–1100. When sermons were preached they were in Lat., not the vernacular. Most lower clergy were ignorant and irreligious. Charlemagne* directed Paul* the Deacon to compile homilies; the collection, Homiliarium, was long in use.

8. Preaching improved from the 12th c. Peter* the Hermit was fanatic but eloquent; Bernard* of Clairvaux, regarded as the greatest preacher of his age, preached 86 sermons on the SS., but did not get beyond chap. 3, verse 1. The Dominicans* were founded to counteract defection from RCm in S France. Anthony* of Padua, who is said to have preached to 30,000 on at least 1 occasion, divided his sermons into several parts (an innovation), used illustrations, and went to the extreme in allegorizing. Thomas* Aquinas combined profound studies with practical preaching. Berthold von Regensburg, “The Chrysostom of the Middle Ages” (perhaps ca. 1210–72; perhaps b. Regensburg, Ger.), preached in German to audiences est. 60,000–200,000 against indulgences and dependence on intercessory prayers of Mary and other saints. Other Ger. preachers of the 13th and 14th c. include Albertus* Magnus, J. Eckhart,* H. Suso,* and J. Tauler.*

9. Preachers also called Prereformers include J. Hus,* G. Savonarola,* and J. Wycliffe.* J. Colet* was a well-known pre-Reformation preacher in Eng.

10. The Reformation reemphasized (1) the purpose of Christian preaching: to proclaim the Gospel; (2) the source of Christian preaching: the Bible; (3) the proper place of Christian preaching in pub. worship: 1st place, with sacrificial parts in 2d place. Preachers of the Reformation and post-Reformation period include in Germany: M. Luther,* J. Brenz,* J. Bugenhagen,* V. Herberger*; in England: J. Knox.* 17th-c. preachers include in Germany: C. Scriver,* H. Müller,* V. E. Löscher,* P. J. Spener,* A. H. Francke*; in England: J. Tillotson,* R. Baxter*; RCs in France: J. B. Bossuet,* J. B. Massilon*; Ref. in France: J. Claude.* 18th-c. preachers include in Germany: J. A. Bengel,* J. L. v. Mosheim,* N. L. v. Zinzendorf*; in Holland: J. Saurin*; in England: R. Hall,* T. Chalmers*; in England and Am.: J. Wesley,* G. Whitefield.*

11. The Enlightenment,* deism,* materialism,* and rationalism* affected preaching adversely. On the other hand, J. H. Jung-Stilling,* J. K. Lavater,* and F. C. Oetinger* exerted a good influence.

12. F. D. E. Schleiermacher,* who attacked rationalism, yet based his theol. on the inner consciousness of the individual, held that the purpose of preaching is to awaken religious feeling, not to instruct or incite to action; his preaching was topical; he did not write his sermons, but carefully prepared them. In contrast, L. Hofacker* said: “I have but I sermon: I preach the Lamb that was slain.” C. Harms* reacted against the rationalistic influences under which he grew up, adopted a positive Biblebased theol., and used the topical method in forceful preaching. R. E. Stier* said the sermon should be Scriptural and applied to the hearer. F. W. Krummacher (see Krummacher, 3) was one of the most popular preachers of his day. G. L. D. T. Harms* exerted great influence by his preaching. T. J. R. Kögel,* brilliant preacher, said the sermon must be a battle. Other Ger. preachers of the 19th c. include J. T. Beck,* K. F. v. Gerok,* C. E. Luthardt,* Julius Müller,* F. K. L. Steinmeyer,* and J. G. W. Uhlhorn.*

13. 19th and early 20th c. preachers in Eng. and Scot. include H. Alford,* J. Caird,* T. Guthrie,* J. H. Jowett,* J. Ker,* H. P. Liddon,* A. Maclaren,* F. W. Robertson,* C. H. Spurgeon.*

14. Luth. preachers of the past in Am. include C. F. W. Walther,* J. A. Seiss,* W. A. Maier.*

15. Non-Luth. Prot. preachers of the past in Am. include H. W. Beecher,* P. Brooks,* C. G. Finney,* H. E. Fosdick,* D. L. Moody.* JHCF

J. A. Broadus, Lectures on the History of Preaching (New York, 1876); E. C. Dargan, The Art of Preaching in the Light of Its History (New York, 1922); J. H. C. Fritz, The Preacher's Manual (St. Louis, 1941); H. C. Howard, Princes of the Christian Pulpit and Pastorate, 2 series (Nashville, Tennessee, 1927–28); E. R. Kiesow, Dialektisches Denken und Reden in der Predigt: an Beispielen aus der Predigtliteratur der Gegenwart untersucht (Berlin, 1957); C. H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and Its Development: Three Lectures (New York, 1936); D. W. Lehmann, Das Wort der Propheten in der Predigt der evangelischen Kirchen von Luther bis zum Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts (Frankfurt am Main, 1963); Y. T. Brilioth, Predikans historia (Lund, 1945), tr. K. E. Mattson, A Brief History of Preaching (Philadelphia, 1965); H. Davies, Varieties of English Preaching 1900–1960 (London, 1963); F. R. Webber, A History of Preaching in Britain and America, 3 vols. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1952–57).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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