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The Preacher as ‘First Listener’: ‘Calling’ as a Source of Authority within the Flemish Evangelical Preaching Tradition

DE-CAVEL, FILIP,ROGER (2019) The Preacher as ‘First Listener’: ‘Calling’ as a Source of Authority within the Flemish Evangelical Preaching Tradition. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Microsoft Word (DThM dissertation Filip De Cavel (2019)) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 3.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).



Although the recent shift to a more audience-centred approach in homiletical studies suggests an increased sensitivity towards the meaning-making process on the part of the listener, this research shows that the consequences for the preacher have not been approached with the same kind of empirical rigour. Rather than searching for ways to attribute meaning to the preacher’s own self-understanding and spiritual practices, homiletical research, in general, has focused on generating recommendations for better preaching. However, the reality of the weekly sermonising process and the sheer number of sermons produced on a yearly basis highlights the need for a more critical and complex account of homiletical practices. Accordingly, this inquiry into homiletical practices aims to critically evaluate the preacher’s discernment and listening process in preparing, receiving, and delivering the sermon within the context of Flemish Evangelical preaching. To explore these issues in depth, I interviewed eight preachers within the Flemish Evangelical context.
Intentionally descriptive in nature, this research highlights a lack of methodological clarity within the field of homiletical spirituality. Through the lens of sources of authority, I argue that preachers may be unaware of the sources of authority that operationalise their discernment process. Some sources authorise their words, while others remain under the surface. I discuss candidates for sources of authority, including the notion of calling. This notion of calling, as it is triangulated through thick descriptions of the contours of the Evangelical movement and the interview data, offers a notable example of a more focused attending to a reflective homiletical endeavour.
Given the many voices potentially competing in regulating and operationalising attentiveness, this research concludes that a renewed practical theological endeavour is needed within the field of homiletical spirituality, one that empirically engages the preacher’s self-understanding.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Keywords:calling; preacher; preaching; homiletics; evangelical; spirituality; qualitative; flemish; authority
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Feb 2019 11:44

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