For most people, rhetoric is a dubious term at best. Whenever
they see the word, they expect it to be preceded by something like
empty or mere. In other words, in the common understanding rhetoric
is what happens when people want their hearers to believe them and
they don t care whether what they say is right or wrong, true or
The ancient practice of rhetoric, however, wasn t about slick
speech designed to convince or persuade; it was about connecting
with one s hearers. It was the recognition that, not only what one
says, but also who one is, where one is speaking, and those to whom
one speaks, are crucial ingredients of getting the message across.
If a speaker does not understand these factors, then the power and
effectiveness of what he or she says is diminished.
Like everyone else, preachers use rhetoric, whether they realize
it or not. All preachers pick up signals about the special nature
of the message they are conveying, the circumstances in which they
are conveying it, and the listeners to whom it is conveyed. The
problem is that they are too often unaware of how they understand
and use this information and hence they use it to poor effect.
This volume uses the time-established principles of rhetoric a
field of study which has enjoyed a revival in recent years to help
preachers better connect with the congregation. Here they will
discover how to understand their own particular authority, the
changing and specific character of the congregation each time it
meets to worship, and how the Christian message lends itself to
different kinds of speech in different situations. What one learns
by using rhetoric to understand preaching, the authors contend, is
nothing less than how to be a more effective and faithful servant
of the Word.
Key Features: Outlines and explains the time-established
principles of rhetoric Written with a particular focus on preaching
An accessible textbook for preaching courses A helpful resource for
pastors and lay preachers who wish to improve their preaching
Key Benefits: Readers will understand and be able to apply the
principles of rhetoric to the preaching task Readers will be able
to better connect with the congregation Readers will understand how
the Christian message lends itself to different kinds of speech in
different situations "
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