Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Steven P. Vitrano
Douglas R. Kilcher
Problem. As early as 1957 there has been concern by some church members that Seventh-day Adventist preaching has lost its uniqueness or as some have said, "the old Adventist ring." Are SDA preachers losing the church's mission in their preaching? That assertion continues to be a voice within Adventism.
Method. A study from the Bible, writings of Ellen G. White and other church publications helped me understand the mission of the SDA church and preaching's relationship to that mission. An analysis of sermons by J. N. Andrews, W. A. Spicer, and H. M. S. Richards, Sr. demonstrate how leading SDA preachers accommodated preaching to the SDA mission. A survey of participating churches in the Iowa-Missouri Conference indicates what members perceive regarding what SDA preaching is and ought to be. A survey of the members of the SDA church in Springfield, Missouri indicates their perceptions with respect to six sermons I preached that by design reflect distinctive and non-distinctive SDA preaching.
Results. SDA mission and preaching's relationship to that mission is clear. Andrews, Spicer, and Richards demonstrated a proper understanding and use of preaching as it relates to that mission. Respondents from the Iowa-Missouri Conference indicate that their perceptions of SDA preaching did not meet their expectation of what preaching ought to be. However, only 12 percent were unhappy with SDA preaching. Ministers and teachers were less positive about preaching they heard. The majority of respondents in the Springfield church considered all six sermons I preached distinctive, although the three designed to be distinctive received a higher response than the non-distinctive.
Conclusions. SDA's seem to know what distinctive Adventist preaching ought to be but may not always recognize it when they hear it. In light of this, the SDA preacher should develop his theology of preaching as it relates to the SDA mission, keeping in mind injunction from the Bible and Ellen G. White with respect to preaching the three angels' messages and seeking lost souls. SDA's do respond positively to preaching that nurtures spiritual needs and to a deep spirituality perceived in the preacher himself. The authority of Ellen G. White must be better understood and implemented as a distinctive characteristic of SDA preaching.
Seventh-day Adventist preaching
Mathews, John Harold, "Towards Understanding Distinctive Seventh-day Adventist Preaching" (1992). Project Documents. 197.
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