An analysis of the effect of contrasting theologies of preaching on the teaching of preaching in British institutions of higher learning
This study examines the efforts of British universities and colleges to educate students for the ministry of preaching. It evaluates the hypothesis that a preaching lecturer's theology significantly influences his teaching, both in its content and methodology. A summary and comparison of seven twentieth century theologies of preaching serves as the foundation for this study. The research considered each theology as presented by either its originator or a leading exponent: Harry Emerson Fosdick, Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, James Stewart, and Karl Rahner. Surveys completed by fifty-five lecturers in preaching provided the second primary focus of research. These surveys both described current practices in homiletical education and offered a means of dividina the lecturers into subgroups for purposes of comparing their teaching. In order to evaluate the primary hypothesis that theology exerts great influence on the teaching of preaching, the study compares the teaching practices of theological subgroupings of lecturers (each grouping matched with one of the theologians mentioned above). Likewise, it compares the teaching of other lecturer subaroupings formed on the basis of contrasting institutional and denominational settings. Institutional and denominational setting does affect the teaching of preaching, but, as hypothesized, not to the degree theology does. The manner in which a lecturer's theology determines his teaching is most noticeable in relation to three questions relating to teaching content: (1) From what source(s) should preachers seek preaching content? (2) On what basis should preachers select content from their source(s)? (3) Once the content has been determined, by what criteria should preachers prepare material for delivery? A comparison of contemporary preaching theologies (and the resultant contrasts in homiletical education) bespeak the rich breadth within the Western Christian tradition.