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Title: A critique of English speaking preaching 1864-1964 (as demonstrated by the theory and practice of C.H. Spurgeon, H.E. Fosdick and J.E. Stewart)
Author: Zeluff, Daniel
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1964
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Charles Haddon Spurgeon was one of the leading preachers of the latter half of the nineteenth century and was truly typical of the orthodoxy of the period. He believed that the great object of preaching was to glorify God - an object which could be achieved only if the hearer were persuaded to accept Christ as saviour. This persuasion was accomplished through an emotional plea which stressed the fear of a literal and eternal hell. Spurgeon's preaching denied the persuasive power of God's love and failed to recognise it as an integral part of the gospel message. In his view that God's judgment could be preached as distinct from His love he greatly overemphasised hell. His preaching was exclusively the attempt to Induce decisions for Christ; it minimized the importance of the teachings of Jesus in the lives of his hearers; and no challenge or guidance was offered to those who had already made a profession of faith, i.e. to the church. Harry Emerson Fosdick was the conspicuous leader of Protestant liberalism during the first half of the twentieth century, and he represented liberalism at its best. He believed that the only justification for the existence of preaching was to assist the hearers in solving the many problems which confronted them in life. The method whereby this help was made possible was through the "cooperative dialogue" in which the congregation. objections, questions, doubts and confirmations were fairly stated and dealt with. The content of the message presented was Jesus, not as a saviour in the classical sense, but as the leading representative of a philosophy of life. The substance of the Christian faith was a source of ethical ideas which gave to man direction and guidance. Posdick's view of scripture failed to notice that the substance of the Christian faith is not a connected series of profound moral ideas, but the revelation of God's act of redemption in history. His proclamation of the ethic of Jesus did not arise from the doctrine of redemption, and he failed to achieve a balance between didache and kerygma. Indeed, the latter was omitted. James S. Stewart is one of the most famous preachers in the contemporary English-speaking church. He believes that the task of the Christian preacher is to herald the good news of Christ as historical, unique, and esohatological fact. The resurrection is the core of the gospel because it proves that Christ is the conquering Messiah, not a defeated hero-prophet and, it gives preaching its unique character ~ the living, personal word breaking in from beyond and going to work in the lives of men. While Stewart is fundamentally a good exegete and a competent scholar, his occasional use of allegory tends to import alien meanings to the text. We have further argued that while Stewart understands that didache must he based first on kerygma, he fails to grasp that didache is also important because it repeats and deepens kerygma within the congregation. By emphasizing kerygma at the expense of didache, Stewart fails to achieve a balance between. The Word directed to the world and to the church.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available