Homiletics or the Theory of Preaching – by Alexander Vinet (1797-1847).
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Alexander (Alexandre) Vinet (1797-1847) is considered as one of the most prominent theological thinkers of 19th century French-speaking Reformed Protestantism, and seen by most scholars as a pastor’s pastor.
Homiletics is the study of sermon preparation and preaching the Word of God with boldness, faithfulness and precision. The office of the Evangelical Ministry consists of different elements, among which the Word of God has the predominance. The Christian religion, the religion of liberty and persuasion, is a word. Jesus Christ, who is at once the Author and the Object of Christianity, is called the Word (John 1:1). The Word is the pastor’s great instrument. The minister speaks either on the part of man to God, or on the part of God to man; in doing the first he prays, in doing the second he preaches. It is of the second that this work treats.
The Word is of the highest importance, and a minister is essentially a man who heralds the Word of God. This act of preaching has been reduced down into a teachable art. It gives preachers eloquence in their preaching if the rules of homiletics are faithfully followed, and as they are biblically solidified. The nature of ecclesiastical discourse involves differences from regular public speaking, and adds specific biblical rules which constitute a particular art under the name of Homiletics.
Here the minister, if he is to preach the Word of God effectively, and for the glory of Christ, would be required to master his language, gestures, looks, etc., in order to be more eloquent in faithfully, biblically and precisely preaching the Word of God to the people of God. Eloquence in this way is a gift, and a gift of the soul. It is the gift of thinking and feeling with others as they think and feel, and of suiting to their thought the words and the movement of the minister’s biblical discourse; of preaching the thoughts of God.
This volume constitutes one of the greatest courses on homiletics given in the history of the Christian church. It would serve any minister well who desires to faithfully feed his flock in both the act of sermon preparation and preaching from the pulpit.
(This work is not a scan or facsimile, has been carefully transcribed by hand being made easy to read in modern English, and has an active table of contents for electronic versions.)