Master of Theology (MTh)
Martin Luther University College
David Schnasa Jacobsen
This study seeks to address two specific areas that have been comparatively neglected in modern homiletical writings. Firstly, there has been a reticence to view preaching as witness—which has resulted in what one perceptive homiletician has called “a testimonial vacuum” in much of the preaching that is done in the mainstream churches of the west; and secondly, there has been a scarcity of emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in theological writing, including in the crucial area of preaching. Happily, this is beginning to change: there is more and more material being written now in the area of Pneumatology, including challenges to consider other branches of theology through a well-developed doctrine of the Holy Spirit—such as an “ecclesiology of the Spirit,” for example. In seeking to understand better who we truly are as preachers of the gospel, this study offers the category of “witness” as one which (it is hoped) will be regarded as worthy of serious consideration. We believe that an understanding of “preaching-as-witness” will be most beneficial—for we contend that the earliest Christian preachers saw themselves as “preaching witnesses.”
When one brings together the concept of appropriating the Spirit’s direction and power in preaching with the concomitant and resulting concept of the preacher-as-witness, the possibilities for positive results in church and society are both exciting and farreaching. What has too often been regarded and experienced as an unpleasant chore can, by personally welcoming the Advent of the Spirit into the preaching process, become an adventure—in all senses of the word. In the following pages we present the case, in considering the findings and experiences of certain preachers of the past (including those at the very beginning of our Christian story in Acts), that the creativity, vitality, and overall effectiveness of preaching can be optimized through a strong personal connection with the Power-Source who is the Holy Spirit. In this W/way, the words that are needed will be the words that are said, and the message that is communicated in our preaching will be an effective witness to Jesus as Lord and Christ.
Sonnenberg, Klaus, "Preaching as Spirit-Directed Witness" (2008). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 874.