How effective is your preaching rhetoric?

As you reflect on another full (and possibly exhausting) day of ministry yesterday, have you considered whether your preaching was effective and persuasive? Will your listeners have been left with memorable phrases ringing in their ears which, as part of God’s speech to his people through your preaching, will do their work in effecting his radical change in their lives, and through them, his work of transformation of this his world? More than likely, we will be worrying whether we read the banns correctly and wondering whether the collection was safely put away…

But the questions about our rhetoric are worth asking—even if our current political moment lets us off the hook. With Theresa May as Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn leader of the opposition, and Donald Trump in the White House, we are in a very odd moment in lacking people with rhetorical skill in the three political positions we hear most about. It was very different when the three figures were David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Barack Obama respectively. Whatever the merits of their respective content, there was a marked contrast in the delivery by David Cameron and Ed Miliband. In his interviews on Radio 4, Miliband used endless parataxis (‘and…and…then…and…’) whereas Cameron used much more hypotaxis (‘Because… after…whilst…’) and it was much more effective. In a previous era, it was said that Neil Kinnock failed to get elected as Prime Minister largely because he could not state things in threes, but went on to list four or five things—and so his listeners never knew when to clap or cheer, so never engaged with the rhythm of what he said. As a contrasting lesson, read through David Cameron’s speech—given unscripted on the doorstep of Number 10—when he became Prime Minister of the coalition in 2010. Note how often he uses binary contrast, alliteration, and lists things in threes—and you might also notice where Theresa May got the phrase ‘strong and stable’!

David Cameron’s First Speech as Prime Minister

Perhaps we agree with one half of the definition of rhetoric:

Language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content

But anyone involved in public ministry needs to remember the other half:

The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

 

Surely we want our language to be effective and persuasive—and we might even want to take up Nick Baines’ challenge to redeem what is often (in public discourse) the corruption of language.


Apart from anything else, we live in an age where rhetoric is making a serious comeback:

  • The increase in radio listening, this year believed to be up by 9%.
  • The effect of the previous Labour Government’s initiatives in numeracy and literacy. I was amused by a conversation with the Head Teacher of my children’s school last year when I asked about my children’s awareness of different genres of writing. ‘It is all about meta-cognition!’ he replied; in their literacy strategy (developed in conjunction with Nottingham Trent University), they are developing skills in genre recognition by focussing on reading and writing a different genre of literature each half term. Thus at age nine the pupils are overtaking most graduates in their understanding of what Douglas Stuart and Gordon Fee identify as a key element of biblical literacy.[i]
  • Actual use of the internet as an interactive medium, which, despite the importance of picture and video material, is very often text based. Children asked to ‘research’ a subject on the internet are very often engaged in activities that in practice look very similar to reading an article in an encyclopaedia, and adult usage often makes high demands of literacy. The growth of blogs, in particular, has led to a veritable explosion of verbiage; from an academic and a ministry perspective, I simply find I cannot keep up with all that is being written.
  • The extraordinary rise of stand-up comedy in the last few years, a form of entertainment entirely dependent on the crafting and use of words. To those objecting to the form of the monologue sermon as unsustainable in the contemporary context, I point out that people will pay very good money to listen to 90 minutes of monologue at the Apollo Theatre in London! There might be problems with many monologue sermons, but stand-up comedy says that the problem does not simply lie in the monologue form itself!
  • The return of rhetoric within political speech, the prime example here being that of Barak Obama. Writing on the day Obama was due to give his Inaugural Presidential Speech, Razia Iqbal quotes Tony Blair’s former speech-writer Philip Collins: Obama at his absolute best “combines a poetic form of expression with a poetic compression of meaning, while rarely straying from ordinary language. His speeches do take wing, but the flight comes from the rhythm of the sentences as much as the elevation of the language”.[ii] Obama’s speech on that day is replete with classical techniques and strategies of rhetoric.[iii] You could observe similar moves in Cameron’s ‘unscripted’ speech outside Number 10 when he became Prime Minister.

If we want to engage persuasively with our congregations in our preaching, and if this is the world they are living in, we need to reflect on the language we use.


Come to the book launch for my new commentary on the Book of Revelation on Thursday April 19th.


A rediscovery of rhetoric

Paul Scott Wilson, in his masterly introduction to The Practice of Preaching, argues that preaching must be engaging and persuasive—but not in the first instance for practical reasons. Rather, he argues that theology itself is rhetorical because it is relational, in that it seeks to be a place of encounter between God and his people.[iv] Anthony Thiselton says something similar in the opening of his recent The Hermeneutics of Doctrine. The early creeds were never mere statements of propositions to which the church gave intellectual assent; they were always expressions of ‘dispositions’, fundamental orientations which affected the whole of life.[v]

If theology is rhetorical, in the sense that its goal is ‘faithful persuasion’, Wilson argues that homiletics must also be rhetorical, since it is the ‘completion’ of theology:

I believe that the sermon is not the dilution of theology; it is rather the completion of theology, made complete through Christ speaking it and constituting the church through it. We might even say that the church is most truly the church when it is preaching in worship, for it is through the Word and sacrament that salvation comes to the world, and it is through our lives being transformed in the cruciform image that our acts of justice, mercy, peace, and love are begun once more in power.[vi]

Against an ‘old homiletic’, propositional approach to preaching, Wilson believes that preaching is ‘never simply the exchange of information from preacher to congregation’ (p 77), but must involve persuasive engagement. In doing this, preaching must rediscover Aristotle’s ancient rhetorical categories of logos, the appeal to rational argument and facts, ethos, the integrity and character, even plausibility, of the speaker, and pathos, or emotional appeal.

Our preaching must be experienced as integrating head, heart and soul (or loosely: logos, ethos and pathos). Homiletical theology is not an intellectual exercise that results in the cool dispensing of knowledge over a prescription counter; it involves our entire lives in devotional purpose.[vii]


Interestingly, some of the examples of the recovery of the importance of language in culture appear to have discovered this very thing. In ‘observational’ comedy, one of the most prominent forms of contemporary stand-up, the rational facts of a situation (logos) are extrapolated into a reductum ad absurdum; as a result, the comic is left in an absurd situation, with which we sympathise (pathos); and all the while the comic uses various devices to establish rapport with the audience (ethos)—the comic is very much ‘one of us’ and even (in a sense) goes through these experiences on our behalf.

Proponents of the ‘new homiletic’ have argued for a more radical rethinking of the sermon as a performative engagement. But the need to rediscover rhetoric is more fundamental and all-encompassing; contemporary preachers need to develop basic skills of communication, ‘asking alliteration’s artful aid’ (as I was once taught)[viii], structuring in threes,[ix] creating narrative tension by delayed resolution—and so on. I found the experience of giving two-minute ‘Pause for Thought’ talks on Radio 2 transformative of my preaching, since it demanded a scripting and crafting of language that a 30-minute sermon never asked for. So I required all those to whom I taught homiletics to preach a two-minute sermon to their peers. Discovering how much you can say in such a short time when you take care, they then sometimes wonder why they ever needed 20 minutes or more!

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Given the sense of growing hostility to Christian faith, the importance of good, persuasive, engaging preaching is not just about satisfying religious consumers in the supermarket of faith. Increasingly, Christians in the West need to have good reasons for what they believe, and encouraging faith involves continually making a persuasive case for trusting in God.

You might like to observe the rhetorical devices, use of metaphors, and changes of gear (from logos through ethos to pathos) in these examples, from Barack Obama, and from Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, and Allan Boesak.

Barack Obama Inaugural Presidential Speech

Roger Bowen examples of rhetoric

You might then want to ask the question: how can I incorporate some of these practices in my preaching—in a way that is appropriate in my context?

(For further material on this, see my chapter ‘The Future of Language in Preaching’ in The Future of Preaching)


[i] In How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth London: Scripture Union, 1983 and later editions, the entire framework of which is genre recognition. I am aware that this growth in literacy is very uneven, given the continuing poor levels of attainment particularly in areas of social deprivation. Rather than uniformly increasing literacy, Government education policy could be seen to have both increased but also polarised literacy, with certain social groups becoming more literate but a continuing underclass remaining functionally illiterate.

[ii] Quoted in Razia Iqbals’s BBC blog from Tuesday 20th January 2009, http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/raziaiqbal/2009/01/the_power_of_language.html accessed in March 2010.

[iii] Both transcripts of the speech itself and analyses of its features are plentiful on the internet.

[iv] Paul Scott Wilson, The Practice of Preaching, Nashville: Abingdon, 1994, chapter 3 ‘Theology and Rhetoric.’ Revised edition, 2007.

[v] Anthony Thiselton, The Hermeneutics of Doctrine. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 2007 chapter 1.

[vi] The Practice of Preaching, p 70.

[vii] Ibid, pp 79–80.

[viii] See the section ‘How to give a talk’ in David Watson, Discipleship, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985.

[ix] From Barak Obama’s Inaugural Presidential Address: ‘Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered… all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance… the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things…For us, they packed up…/For us, they toiled…/For us, they fought and died… we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world… This is the price…/ This is the source…/This is the meaning…’ and so on!

(Part of this piece was first published in 2013)


Come to the book launch for my new commentary on the Book of Revelation on Thursday April 19th.


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22 thoughts on “How effective is your preaching rhetoric?

  1. A thought-provoking piece, but, contrary to Paul Scott Wilson, I’d argue that theology itself is dialogue because it is relational, in that it seeks to be a place of encounter between God and his people.

    The best preachers are able to articulate that spiritual dialogue, as they challenge, probe the consciences of their hearers.

    Billy Graham’s 1958 sermon ‘Is the handwriting on the wall, America’ is a great example of this: https://youtu.be/05M_02ZAYTU.

    Notice the intensity of his delivery, the probing questions asked out loud, and using ‘we’ to acknowledge the guilt of the American nation (at 22:26 – ‘as a nation, we’ve been guilty of every sin that Man has been able to conceive,’).

    Nevertheless, he then articulates the required response to the gospel with an acknowledgement of being as much in need of Christ’s redemption as anyone in his audience (at 31:37 – ‘You say: ‘Well, Billy, I must confess that I don’t weigh enough tonight. If I had to stand before God tonight, I’d have to plead, O God, I don’t deserve forgiveness and I don’t deserve heaven’. And I would have to stand beside you and I would have to say with you, Neither do I!’

    While its partial appeal to patriotism may seem dated, would God that 30-minute Sunday sermons were so full of conviction and electrifying.

  2. Thanks Ian – really helpful. After reading this, I watched Trump’s inauguration speech, and then Obama’s from 2009. I admit I had tears in my eyes watching Obama; for his eloquence and use of language, but mostly for the contrast with lumpen Trump. Obama’s apt quotation from 1 Corinthians 13.11 rings hollow in these days of diplomacy-by-Twitter.

  3. Donald Trump lacks rhetorical skill? Why else do you imagine he won? I think there’s a bit of confusion here between a snobbish notion of learning and the actual original meaning of rhetoric in its classical Greek context as “persuasive speech”. Trump might be uneducated but he sure knows how to say what (enough people to get him a win) want to hear! And I think this is relevant. Learning isn’t enough to convince anyone these days. Basic preparation, skill and familiarity with the subject are basic yet I actually think many people are more convinced by passion and conviction than what they see as book learning. These days, those in power will openly jeer at the notion of “experts”. I appreciate a person with learning as much as the next person but show me someone who lives and breathes what they are saying and that catches my attention and makes me sit up and take notice much more. I’m talking Elijah or Diogenes. No half measures.

  4. Does Donald Trump ever persuade anyone? Is it more about saying what tallies with what people are feeling/thinking already? Gathering the hurt. How many minds does he actually change?

  5. I do think that we are duty bound to recognise logical/evidential argument where we find it. I don’t want to be leaving a meeting thinking either that the worshippers used *techniques* to (supposedly) ‘bring down’ the presence of God; no more do I want to have the suspicion that the preacher is persuasion-oriented rather than truth/evidence-oriented. The truth commends itself by being logically/evidentially inescapable with or without the application of techniques.

    Of techniques there are many, but it is hard to think of any that have weight. A person turns up looking spruce and plausible. They are charming. Winsome. Eloquent. They order their points carefully so as to put the strongest one at the end, or omit the weak ones. Marginal note: point weak – shout loudly. They appeal to the emotions. Think of a barrister who is capable of supporting different sides because the primacy of conviction/truth/evidence has fallen by the wayside.

    I agree that David Cameron was absolutely consummate in his polishedness (likewise, doubtless, Barack Obama). Although that is not a skill I particularly value, for anyone to attain any skill to such a degree is something not to be sniffed at. I would rather encourage the perspective: if these people think that life is all about presentation and persuasion, then they have fundamentally missed the point. Christians will always value substance above style. Once the primacy of substance is assured, *then* and only then ought style to become a consideration and *then* it is right to value the stylish and poetic above the earthbound.

  6. Thanks Christopher – very good to finally meet last week

    As a preacher I want to marshall every rhetorical/oratorical tool I can to better convey the glories of the gospel of Jesus. However, I have always been struck that the Corinthians criticised Paul for his not so eloquent speech (2Cor11:6) – and Paul himself admits his speech was not the most eloquent or persuasive (1Cor2:1) – nevertheless he had truth on his side and the power of the Spirit and left numerous churches, and a converted Asia Minor in his wake. If it were a choice I’ll choose the gift of the Spirit over the gift of the gab.

    • Thanks Simon. Great to meet you. Thanks again. We had a great week at Spring Harvest with our 3 girls. St Aldate’s is very close to my heart, as I was there 1984-90. Something of a seminary in its own right.

      Your perspective that the Spirit comes first is exactly right. Even accurate and truthful substance can be dry. The priority order is:
      1 Spirit
      2 Substance
      3 Style
      -yet all are important, but the lower in the list must be under the authority of the higher.

      Rhetoric as commonly understood includes some tricks which are not subject to the rule of substance nor to the rule of the Spirit.

      John moves from seeing the Spirit as primarily the Spirit of Prophecy in Revelation to seeing the Spirit as primarily the Spirit of Truth in John’s Gospel. Even in the impartation of truth from a truthful heart, however dry we may feel, the Spirit is present and at work IMHO.

  7. Interesting. Hopefully rhetoric won’t come back with a vengeance, else we’ll have to sit through all the ‘why I am unqualified to speak to so learned and grey haired a crowd’.
    Speak plainly, and be yourself.

    Don’t ‘show’ and not ‘tell’, just tell (I can take it, honestly).

    The church father Tatian read and travelled much, but was finally convicted by ‘barbaric’ writings (the Scriptures), because of their substance, and their speaking of the ‘governance of the whole world by one being’.

    Augustine and Jerome wrestled with all this, and their writings struggle between biblical language and classical rhetoric; there is a real tension in their writings.
    Peter

    • Well, I agree that one problem with the New Homiletic in the States was the danger of the triumph of style over substance.

      But, on the other hand, if we have a vital message to communicate, doesn’t it deserve the best delivery and the most telling persuasion?

      • Yes! Wherever style is subject to substance, and both are subject to the Spirit, then let the style be the best possible.

  8. I think you are right. Allow me just another reflection. Our presentations do appear, to some extent, sensitive to time (time bound perhaps), so the expectation in the ancient world would have been for lengthy discourse (even for Jews, hence the long histories by Stephen etc. in Acts). There was the expectation because eloquence was held in high (too high) esteem. We can’t think about a return to classical rhetoric, unless it was used self-consciously (dressing up for a gospel play perhaps).

    I recently heard Celia Collins speak at Spring Harvest. No rhetoric (to speak of), no scholarship, except a mention of a dictionary, and no reference to social media. Just the Bible, spoken with such power and conviction, the listeners were shaken to the core. I looked upon my books and wept.
    But you may be right. Good to discuss these matters.
    Peter

    • Hi Peter,

      I agree wholeheartedly. As I wrote on Ian’s FB post:
      In 1 Cor. 2, I’d suggest that Paul’s contrast didn’t compare his delivery style or financial scruples with that of paid rhetoricians.

      Instead, he was specifically contrasting the content of his declaration about Christ crucified with the persuasive appeal of Greek/Roman philosophy (e.g. Cicero).

      The Greek focus on virtue (or arete) was and remains persuasive precisely because it appeals to self-actualisation: the maximal achievement of all that is proper to our nature.

      In contrast, (and as demonstrated in Acts 17) without belief and reliance upon ‘demonstration of the Spirit’, the Son of God crucified represents the antithesis of self-actualisation.

      This ‘demonstration of the Spirit’ can include God laying bare the ‘hidden things of dishonesty’ (2 Cor. 4:2; cf. Acts 5:4; Acts 13:9; 1 Cor. 14:25)

      In fact, absent ‘demonstration of the Spirit’ (which corroborates the resurrection that ‘ear has not heard and eye has not seen’ Isaiah 64:4), reprobate minds will be entertained, but will neither be convicted nor convinced by skilful rhetoric.

      Paul telling the Corinthians, ‘for I resolved’ may explain how he had changed his approach as a consequence of his experience at Athens in Acts 17: great speech, paltry response.

      In fact, in 1 Cor. 2, Paul was not saying that he set aside reasoned discourse (logou) to proclaim Christ crucified. Instead, it was reliance on the superiority (huperoché) of reasoned discourse that he set aside, since, as he explained, this makes faith forever vulnerable to superior apologetics. (1 Cor. 2:5)

      This vulnerability due to over-confidence in superior rhetoric inevitably surfaces as philosophical syncretism, as espoused by Church leaders and movements which are continually trying to reconcile Christ revealed through scripture with the mass appeal of incompatible humanist ideals.

  9. Tim keller has frequently pointed out the preachingthe Good News of Christ, is neither preaching good advice, nor information. Having listened to some of his preaching and much of his on-line teaching on preaching and modern contextualisation, he has been adept at preaching in the context of New York, and professionals.
    One of his ways of engaging listeners, is to say, “I know what you are thinking” as he then goes on to to answer some doubts.
    He also creates a problem which he finally reveals is answered in and through the muliti-facetted gospel of Jesus.
    His book “Preaching”…Communicating the Gospel in an age of skepticism” condenses all his on-line teaching as a preaching practitioner covering:
    Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Prologue
    Part One: Serving the Word
    1. Preaching the Word
    2. Preaching the Gospel Every Time
    3. Preaching Christ from All of Scripture
    Part Two: Reaching the People
    4. Preaching Christ to the Culture
    5. Preaching and the (Late) Modern Mind
    6. Preaching Christ to the Heart
    Part Three: In Demonstration of the Spirit and of Power
    7. Preaching and the Spirit
    Acknowledgements
    Appendix: Writing an Expository Message
    In my view it is a book many Christians could benefit from reading, not just preachers.
    Logic on fire is a well known description of preaching by Lloyd-Jones,
    which doesn’t contradict JC Ryles, “Simplicity in Preaching.”
    “Saving Eutychus: how to preach God’s word AND keep people awake” by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell is also worth a read and endorsed by many.
    There is an emphasis of preaching to the heart that is “the control centre of the personality” … the way we think, feel and act, real and lasting change. It differentiates this from maniplulation and traces the “long pedigree (and many faces) of preaching to the heart.
    Tips include:
    1 The more you say the less people remenmber
    2 Make the “big idea” shape everything you say
    3 Use the shortest most ordinary words you can
    4Use shorter sentences
    5 Forget everthing your English teacher ever taught you (one author is Irish, the other Australian!)
    6 Repeat (it regulates information flow) -words per minute rather than ideas per minute
    7 Translate narratives into the PRESENT TENSE
    8 Illustrate: tip don’t sweat over illustrating the complicated stuff – just illustrate the obvious
    9 People love to hear about people
    10 Work towards your key text. Tip, set up the text/verse BEFORE you read it, rather than after. Explain then show. Build up the logic of the argument the answer to which the text itself is about to reveal.

    There is much more in the book.

    Spurgeon was great at simple memorable illustrations and phrases. Some puritans were as well, such as William Gurnall (The whole Armour of God) and Richard Sibbes.

    I’m extremely greatful for some great preaching/ teaching on the internet. A downside, is a temptation to compare and contrast with local pastors, preachers, clergy or even, on rare occasions, self. Perhaps a bottom line test for me is whether the sermon aids me to worship God to know Him more.

  10. Thanks Geoff – very helpful.

    It is incumbent on Preachers to be the best they can be at communication – they are entrusted with God’s Word and the care of God’s people. So great care and commitment must be invested in the act (not art) of preaching. The two most important I believe are to understand the Word and to understand the Listener. Skills can be learnt in the actual act of preaching – but preaching is prophecy not oratory. A jeweller sets the diamond in the ring and makes much of the stone, not the setting. He must increase, we must decrease. I think an overly self conscious, rhetorical style becomes self conscious, draws attention to the self, distracts from the content, seeks to impress the listener with the speaker, and seems affected and pseudo. A sort of ‘preaching by numbers’. People want authenticity and integrity in the preacher and overt oratory suggests that another voice is present in the preacher, not of the Master/Spirit but of the voice coach.

    • So true. Those who proclaim the hope of the gospel, which so radically reorders human priorities, should never just pander to the popular appetite for media-savvy soundbites.

      • Cleverly contrived comments by TVnews reporters, weary me greatly.
        Apothegems wouldn’t go down well with juries in Courts, neither would highfalutin words. (Maybe this is showing too little deference, Ian?)
        Here is a link to a Mike Reeves talk at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly, 2012, which many may know:
        https://www.theologynetwork.org/christian-beliefs/the-holy-spirit-and-christian-living/starting-out/reformation-and-the-heart.htm
        Keller, in his book Preaching , in the section Preaching Christ to the Heart, where he emphasises that the bible knows no dualism between head and heart, one of the ways he suggests how to preach to the “heart” is by engaging the imagination, which is more affected by images than propositions. He give an example from Jonathan Edwards (in)famous sermon “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God”. The abstract propsition from Edwards is ” all your righteousness would have no …influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell.” (That is, we can not be saved by our good works.) But Edwards does not leave it there, adding, “(any more) than a spider’s webb would have to stop a falling rock.”
        Here, Keller sees Edwards bringing “two fields of discourse together: the logical and experiential. Your good deeds are like a spiderweb and your sin is like a rock. It shows how impossible it is to earn our way to heaven . The futility of it grabs you and settles the truth more deeply in your heart”
        Keller also give examples of Nathan’s imaginative “sermon”to King David, to break through David’s rationalisation of sin with a grievous sense of injustice that (burns with anger) causing David to say the man who did this should die. In a heartbeat Nathan: “You are that man.”
        There is so, so much more in the book, with sufficient endnotes, over 60 pages, of some substance, to send those so minded, off down rabbit holes. But many who may read Ian’s blog will already know this.
        I’ll end with this from Keller, which is in the book and I’ve heard him preach. Instead of quoting Luther’s dictum on justification that we are “simul justus et pecator”” simulateously accepted as righteous yet in ourselves sinful, Keller says this:
        “A Christian is more flawed and sinful than you ever dared believe, yet more loved and accpted than you ever dared hope – at the same moment.”

        • Well, if the goal of media-savvy is positive (or, at the very least, neutral) media coverage, then Jesus’ terse pronouncements and parables (inscrutable to those outside of his inner circle Mk. 4;11,12) really didn’t achieve that. (John 6:56-66)

    • Simon,
      I appreciated your jeweller’s illustration for the multifacetted gospel diamond, with it’s internal, multidirectional, radiation of light.
      I’ve never been a one to appreciate jewellery, but some, not too many, years ago looking into a window in Jersey, with my wife, there was a hideously expensive, unaffordable, diamond ring and I was stunned, by its emitted beauty and luminosity.
      Last year we had a speaker from a world mission organisation, who said that the key for the gospel was finding out the main particularities of each culture, beliefs and behaviours. In the West it may be said that we have a multifacetted culture, with obsessions, doubts and objections , which may vary from place to place, town and gown, pits and professions, rural and race, but the gospel of Christ is multi-facetted.

  11. Bishop Robert Barron, the “Evangelical Catholic” RC Bishop, philosopher and apologist from California, and the man behind the youtube/podcast/etc “Word on Fire”, was asked about Jordan Peterson. In reply, he didn’t really address the question of Peterson’s beliefs or the content of his talks and books, beyond noting that anyone with Peterson’s broad knowledge of philosophy and religion, a professorship in psychology alongside an active private practice, and a chart-topping non-fiction book, was someone who should be listened to.
    But the Bishop did note that Peterson draws very heavily on the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament, holding the Bible forth as a source of great wisdom. And he will often talk for over two hours on his youtube broadcasts, garnering almost one million followers. The bishop commented: Shame on the church, its preachers and leaders, that it has so little confidence in its message that it would run screaming from a two hour sermon.
    You might say, “Horses for courses”; or, “A passing fad”; or, “Only a facade of depth”. But deep, intelligent preaching may just be worth a try.

  12. Present tense preaching. Here is an example.
    Here is a link to a recent sermon from Simon Manchester , Australia, on Song of Songs 5:10-16.
    I’ve seen/heard him at Keswick Convention, some years ago.
    https://www.st-thomas.org.au/podcast/sacrifice/
    SM uses the present tense almost exclusively, throughout, and there is an immediacy , that is not common.

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