This dissertation studies the role of preaching in the Christian Brethren Church from a practical theological perspective. I commence by setting up a practical theological theory that draws from both revelatory and anthropological models to develop a preaching model that considers preaching as a Revelatory Covenantal Conversation involving divine revelation, community dialogue and intended response, and has ecclesiological focus and impact. In this dissertation I propose a theological theory on the role of preaching in the church which asserts that: Preaching stands, in the line of the self revelation of God, as his continuing action to both reveal himself, and be present with his covenant people of promise. Therefore preaching within the church must conform to this revelation in: event – the covenantal conversation itself; message – the content of the preaching; interpretation/response – the preacher’s intended response by the hearers; the intention - the intended shaping of the community of faith through the preaching event. Preaching is a continuing Revelatory Covenantal Conversation between God and his people to create, transform, and continue his community of faith – the preaching community. Following a discussion of the above preaching theory a Revelatory Covenantal Conversational preaching model is presented. An examination of the preaching praxis within the Christian Brethren denomination is then undertaken. The praxis study gives specific consideration to the place and role of preaching in the historical development of the Brethren, as well as within the current Christian Brethren praxis. In addition a qualitative analysis of the praxis within the local Christian Brethren church that I attend is considered. According to Zerfass “practical theology has the task to lead in... [the] process of change in a way that is responsible from the perspective of both theology and the social sciences” (Heitink 1993: 113). To this end the final chapter suggests possible aspects of change, theological and practical, that can move the praxis forward toward an alternative praxis – to create a preaching community which incorporates the above theological theory and critical reflection on the praxis, and thereby participating fully in the Revelatory Covenantal Conversation.
Dissertation (MA (Theology) : Practical Theology)--University of Pretoria, 2008.