Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Steven P. Vitrano
Robert M. Johnston
Problem. There are two basic methods into which all preaching falls, deduction and induction. Homiletical literature advocating either method extols the virtues of the one over the other. However, such literature offers little supportive data based upon listener responses and preferences. An historical survey of preaching reveals that the preaching of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament was dominantly inductive, whereas the preaching of the post-New Testament church has been generally deductive. Therefore, it was the task of this project to seek listener response to deductive and inductive preaching in the Pioneer Memorial Church in order to ascertain listener preference for one or the other of these two sermonic methods.
Methods. Eight sermons, preached in Pioneer Memorial Church during the fall of 1985, intentionally alternated between the deductive and inductive methods. A group of randomly selected listeners reacted to each sermon through a standard evaluative questionnaire. Based upon their responses, listener preference for deductive and inductive preaching was ascertained.
Results. The response of the listeners has conformed to the expectations of some of the homiletical literature. On the other hand, it was discovered that in numerous instances the listeners in Pioneer Memorial Church demonstrated a wide range of responses and preferences that prevents any categorical advocacy of one method over the other. This opportunity to establish a dialogical relationship with certain parishioners of the congregations has resulted in a growing awareness that pastoral preaching must reflect the inherent diversity and differing preferences within the congregation.
Conclusions. The responses of the listeners in this project indicate that the choice of sermonic method alone is not the determinative factor in eliciting a prescribed listener response. While it may be concluded that a slightly greater degree of listeners preferred the inductive method over deduction, it is clear that in fact listeners prefer a combining of deductive and inductive preaching. Any homiletical strategy for the future must incorporate both methods consistently and regularly in order for the Word of God to be effectively communicated in Pioneer Memorial Church.
Nelson, Dwight K., "A Comparison of Receptivity to the Deductive and Inductive Methods of Preaching in the Pioneer Memorial Church" (1986). Project Documents. 208.
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