The Preaching of the Law to Lawbreakers

[1] It is the Word as received by the congregant, not as spoken by the preacher, that makes the impact. The Law portion of that Word is intended to inspire repentance and thus drive the penitent towards the arms of Christ. The Law and the Gospel are dissimilar and distinct concepts which are nonetheless inextricably […]

Preaching the Law in My Pastoral Setting

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them … and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. – Matthew 28:19–20 [1] Jesus commissioned his apostles to carry on his mission to the ends of the earth. That mission includes bringing people to new life through the sacrament of baptism, and teaching […]

Preaching Law to the “Lost Generation”

[1] It is November 4, 2008. I live in Chicago, and I am one of the lucky ones who has secured a ticket to be in Grant Park on the night of the election. My husband and I are there together, and all around me, as far as I can see, are people who are […]

We Would See Jesus, not You

[1] People who do not realize that their choices reveal their character think they have a choice as to whether or not to be self-disclosing. They don’t. Character is revealed by choice; as Aristotle says in his Poetics, we reveal ourselves in every choice we make from what we say, what we choose to wear, […]

The Case for Personal Story

[1] Reactions to the use of personal stories in the pulpit are easy to come by. Many of these reactions, it must be admitted, are strongly negative. They vary from mild hesitation to outright rejection. Such reactions, informed or otherwise, must be taken seriously. Even those that seem overstated signal a potential danger. Traps await […]

The Ethics of Self-Disclosure in Preaching

[1] The topic of self-disclosure in the pulpit is certainly worth critical exploration for the sake of honest ministry and ethical preaching. The sober reality, however, is that self-disclosure is a given in the act of preaching and cannot be helped. It just is. To say that there can be preaching without self-disclosure might be […]

Theological and Rhetorical Perspectives on Self-Disclosure in Preaching

[1] This article arises from the conviction that preaching from the Bible is “standing between two worlds,” a communication between the ancient biblical text and modern listeners.[1] Preachers are bridges for the truth of the Word. The bridge building metaphor leads to the fact that reaching involves self-disclosure. The speaker and the message are inseparable. […]

I the Narrator

[1] I heard Pastor Friedrich preach hundreds of sermons. He was the only pastor of the congregation in which I grew up. Our family was in church every Sunday. I remember only one of those hundreds of sermons and actually only a part of that one. He preached on the text, “Judge not lest ye […]

Preaching and the Polis—Some Thoughts from the Pew

[1] As someone who has known John Stumme since his student days at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in the late 1960s, when I was a young professor there, I am not surprised at the stellar career he has had in the succeeding decades. For already at that time he was a visible […]

An Introduction to “Preaching and Politics”

[1] Is it just my jaded perspective, or does it seem when it comes to news coverage of mainline Protestantism, good news is no news? The investigation by the IRS into All Saints Church in Pasadena on the grounds of campaign intervention garnered front-page attention and multiple newswire stories. On the other hand, the letter […]