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                                                        New Homiletic and New Preaching Method

                                                                                                                            Dr. Ricardo Park

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What is the New Homiletic? How can we preach in the new way of homiletic other than old homiletic? There are many lengthy and complicated and difficult explanations but I would like to explain simply and easily. New Homiletic is Problem-Solving Homiletic!

The movement of New Homiletic started from around 1970 in the Northern America. This new preaching movement radically changed preaching way. Until this movement there has been only old preaching way which is deductive reasoning. Easily speaking, old homiletic is like topical, textual, expository preaching with three points and introduction with illustration etc. But this new way of preaching movement suggested inductive problem solving method. In short, now we have a lot of hybrid new homiletic methods but in root it has problem-solving structure with wrong answer dialectically.

New Homiletic starts from the problem of congregation to search answers! This is big difference. Old Homiletic starts from the Bible to tell congregation what God wants them to do, while New Homiletic starts from the needs of congregation what they needs from God! New Homiletic, therefore is much more pastoral than Old Homiletic which is much more instructive. New Homiletic method uses movements rather than points.

New Homiletic starts first move (but you can say point! It doesnít matter). 1. What is our problem? And then preacher doesnít answer right away with right answer because preacher knows that to search the truth is not easy but we need to go through wrong paths in our lives.

So preacher answers, instead of congregation, wrong answer. 2. This is answer but wrong. Preacher can answer with more wrong answers that can be points or moves. So in this way in our sermon congregation can see our mistakes as a way of search the truth, not only always right answers.

But finally preacher finds right answer through all this process of mistakes. 3. Here is right answer after all these wrong paths. So New Homiletic also can have three points or moves but those points are totally different from Old Homileticís points which tell only right answers.

I like to show you an example of this New Homiletic, which we call inductive preaching or problem-solving preaching or narrative preaching. This New Homiletic employs dialectic (thesis-antithesis-synthesis) unlike Old Homileticís logic.


1.      Why canít we pray when we are in the tough suffering?    (thesis)

a.       what kind of suffering we have: disease, accident, failure

b.      why canít we pray in suffering? Because we are so disappointed, concerned, feel so hopeless/helpless

2.      Instead of praying, what do wo do then?                (antithesis)

a.       we give up praying and give up our lives: by suicide, by being angry, by hating those who caused problems, by going far away from God and faith

b.      we try to find other help other than God: other gods and demon, self comfort

3.      How can they pray again then?  (synthesis)

a.       by believing God who also suffers with us in our suffering: God is not punishing us by suffering, suffering comes not from God. It comes always from people and nature. God gave people freedom of will to be able to do good and bad

b.      Job prayed in the Bible in his worst terrible suffering: Job prayed not complaining against God, Job prayed that we came to this world with nothing and go back with nothing, Job prayed even though he didnít know why, Job prayed that ďlet Godís will be done, not by my willĒ like Jesus, Jobís prayer sustained him to endure his terrible suffering until God changes his tragedy to the blessings, but even if God may not change his suffering, he would have prayed like Daniel.

As you see here, you can use stories or arguments for this development of New Homiletic. When you use story you can be narrative preacher. But remember main characteristic of New Homiletic is problem-solution.

(1)   Analyze problems and needs of audience

(2)   Answer with wrong answers

(3)   Find right answer

When you treat wrong answers you can make problem worse and it goes to climax before dramatically turning to the right solution/answer with yahoo! Almost all stories have this plot and outline. What is most interesting with New Homiletic unlike Old Homiletic is that preacher can show and treat untruth with truth in our sermon, mistakes and failures with right path and success.

I believe it is not important what different methods we use but it is important to understand why New Homiletic appeals audience. There are tons of varieties of New Homiletic because every New Homiletic teachers make their own method but I think all of those theories have this same root and structure.