A critical evaluation of the audience-oriented preaching theories of Fred Craddock and Eugene Lowry

Lee, Woo Je (2003-04)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2003

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation aims to evaluate the Audience Oriented Preaching (AOP) methods of Fred Craddock and Eugene Lowry. Though no one can deny that AOP provides a new and creative method for participation of the audience in the whole sermon process, in my view, it has many theological and homiletic problems. But before asking how we can use their method skillfully in our preaching ministry, it is necessary to scrutinize their theories with theological reflection. Chapter 2 explores the relation between the text and the listener (context) in the light of contextualization and rhetoric, in which we can find the present place of AOP, as developed by Craddock and Lowry. This chapter functions as a guide map for the direction and argument of subsequent chapters. In Chapter 3 we review the inductive preaching theories of Craddock, and the narrative preaching theories of Lowry. Here our concern is first to find the theological, historical and cultural background of AOP. Following this, we examine AOP theories themselves, which propose preaching methods that differ radically from the more traditional ones. In Chapters 4 and 5 this dissertation considers and evaluates both positive and negative aspects of AOP. AOP provides several benefits that have so far been ignored in traditional preaching methods. Primarily, it is closely related to active participation of the audience in the sermonic process. A less favourable view of AOP is that it fails to proclaim the identity of Jesus Christ and as a result of this, to build up the community of Jesus in the church. Campbell's Christological-ecclesiological approach, based on post-liberal theology, has been one of the most important theological critiques of AOP theories and their roots in western individualism. Although Campbell argues persuasively in his criticism of AOP, his arguments are not wholly adequate in addressing the issue of congregation-oriented preaching. Chapter 6 is mainly focused on an alternative congregation oriented preaching method. I argue that this can be accomplished in a vision of collaborative preaching, which incorporates the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This dissertation suggests Bohren's pneumatological-ecclesiological approach as the most effective method for congregation oriented preaching beyond the individualistic trend of AOP. Where Campbell's critique, though articulate, overlooks the pneumatological perspective, Bohren's is significantly more comprehensive than Campbell's. Therefore, the approach that I develop in this thesis acknowledges the contributions of both Campbell and Bohren in shaping a truly congregation-oriented preaching. If we are to overcome the limitation of AOP, my argumentation is that AOP must be interrogated and complemented by both the Christological-ecclesiological approach of Campbell and the pneumatological-ecclesiological approach of Bohren.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif het ten doel die evaluering van die gehoor georienteerde prediking (GGP) metodes van Fred Craddock en Eugene Lowry. Hoewel dit nie betwyfel kan word dat GGP 'n nuwe en kreatiewe metode vir die deelname van die gehoor in die hele preekproses bied nie, het dit myns insiens heelwat teologiese en homiletiese probleme. In hierdie opsig is dit noodsaaklik dat hulle metodes d.m.v. teologiese refleksie ondersoek word, voordat daar gevra word na hoe hulle metodes op 'n gepaste wyse binne die bediening van prediking aangewend kan word. Hoofstuk 2 ondersoek die verhouding tussen die teks en die hoorder (konteks) in die lig van kontekstualisering en retoriek, waarbinne ons die huidige plek kan vind van GGP - soos ontwikkel deur Craddock en Lowry - binne die hele teologiese en homiletiese vloei. Hierdie hoofstuk dien as 'n gids vir die rigting en argument van hieropvolgende hoofstukke. In hoofstuk 3 word die induktiewe preekteoriee van Craddock, sowel as die narratiewe preekteoriee van Lowry van nader beskou. In hierdie hoofstuk is die primere fokus om die teologiese, historiese en kulturele agtergrond van GGP te vind. Daarna word die GGP teoriee self - wat metodes van prediking voorstel wat radikaal verskil van meer tradisionele metodes - ondersoek. In hoofstukke 4 en 5 word beide die positiewe en negatiewe aspekte van GGP oorweeg en geevalueer, GGP bied veskeie voordele wat tot dusver geignoreer is deur tradisionele metodes van prediking. Van primere belang is dat GGP nou verbind is tot die aktiewe deelname van die gehoor in die preekproses. 'n Minder gunstige beskouing van GGP is dat dit nie daarin slaag om die identiteit van Jesus Christus genoegsaam te verkondig nie en as 'n resultaat, ook nie om die gemeenskap van Christus binne die kerk op te bou nie. Campbell se christologies-ekklesiologiese benadering, gebasseer op post-liberale teologie, bied een van die belangrikste vorme van teologiese kritiek op GGP teoriee, sowel as die gewortelheid daarvan in westerse individualisme. Hoewel Campbell oortuigend argumenteer in sy kritiek op GGP, is sy argumente nie in aIle opsigte voldoende in die aanspreek van gemeente georienteerde prediking nie. Hoofstuk 6 se primere fokus is op 'n altematiewe gemeente georienteerde metode van prediking. Ek argumenteer dat dit bereik kan word binne die visie van samewerkende prediking, onder leiding van die Heilige Gees. Hierdie proefskrif stel voor Bohren se pneumatologies-ekklesiologiese benadering as die mees effektiewe metode vir gemeente georienteerde prediking, wat strek verby die individualistiese neiging van die GGP. Waar Campbell se kritiek, hoewel geartikuleerd, die pneumatologiese perspektief ignoreer, is Bohren se benadering aansienlik meer omvattend as die van Campbell. Die benadering wat ek in hierdie proefskrif ontwikkel gee erkenning aan beide Campbell en Bohren in die vorrning van 'n ware gemeente-georienteerde prediking. My argument is dus dat, indien die beperkinge van die GGP oorkom wil word, GGP ondersoek moet word deur beide die christologies-ekklesiologiese benadering van Campbell, sowel as die pneumatologies-ekklesiologiese benadering van Bohren.

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