I have been for years now teaching homiletical theories and methods to students at World Mission University in Los Angeles, California. I have been aware of certain problems in the theory and practice of preaching prevailing in the Korean church. One of the most critical issues is that Korean preaching largely consists of the topical-deductive method. Another is that a hierarchical structure enforces the gap between the preacher and the congregation. The study explores, within the framework of the theologian Johannes van der Ven’s empirical-theological research program, text-guided preaching, based on the American homiletician Thomas G. Long’s theory that the sermon should regenerate the impact of the biblical text, in the context of the Korean church and its tradition of preaching. The study looks at the history and characteristics of Korean preaching (Chapter 2) and also at the emergence, characteristics, and styles of new American preaching (Chapter 3). The empirical component of the study deals with a case study involving a preaching workshop for theological students as an illustration of the reception by Korean preachers of the proposed theory for preaching (Chapter 5). My proposal is that text-guided preaching (described in Chapter 4) will benefit those Korean preachers and students willing a homiletical exploration. The basic premise of this model of preaching is that a text seeks to impact its reader; or, to use Paul Ricoeur’s words, confronts its readers with a particular world of understanding; or, from the standpoint of speech-act theory, performs multiple illocutionary acts. Text-guided preaching as it is presented in this study incorporates the notion of application, a notion introduced to hermeneutics by Hans-Georg Gadamer that says that understanding a text always aims at some practical application. Homiletically refined by H. J. C. Pieterse and C. J. A. Vos, it means that the preacher’s understanding of a biblical text is partly determined by the particular, historically contingent situation of the congregation. This study adopts an empirical-theological approach to practical theology. As a part of the theological induction phase of the empirical-theological cycle, a preaching workshop was conducted with eight student-participants. The case study produced some significant results. The clearest finding has to do with the task of interpreting the life situation of the congregation. It leads to the conclusion that theological education at World Mission University has to be modified to include trainings that would produce competent interpreters of the cultural context of Christian life.
Thesis (PhD (Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2008.