Conversations in Preaching: A New Book Series
We are delighted to announce that Concordia Seminary Press has launched a new series on homiletics entitled “Conversations in Preaching.” Dr. David Schmitt, the series editor and the seminary’s Gregg H. Benidt Endowed Memorial Professor in Homiletics and Literature, writes in the introduction:
“The Conversations in Preaching series is an opportunity for preachers to reflect on the heart and the art of preaching. Unfortunately, one of the difficulties of being a preacher is that one rarely has time to read and reflect on the practice. After all, one is too busy preaching. This series has been written for such active preachers.
Each book in the series will take up one topic relevant to the preaching task and begin a conversation. The conversation is not meant to be comprehensive nor definitive, but rather exploratory, giving readers a chance to reflect with a preacher, theoretically, theologically, and practically, about one aspect of preaching.
At the heart of the conversation will be a Lutheran sensibility of preaching. Preaching is the authoritative public proclamation of the faith, normed and guided by the Scriptures, centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ for forgiveness, life, and salvation, for the benefit of the hearers in their relationship to God and to others. But the art of the conversation will be how that sensibility relates to other issues. It could be a current trend in homiletical theory or an ancient form of homiletical practice. Each book highlights one topic for conversation and the format invites preachers to reflect on their practice and grow in their preaching.
Our prayer is that these books will aid your growth in preaching. With them, we invite you to take a seat at the table around God’s word. Here you will be fed and led into conversation so that, ultimately, you rise and go to speak to others of what our Lord has done.”
The first book in this series is The Beautiful Sermon, by Dean Nadasdy. Dr. Nadasdy was the first occupant of the Gregg H. Benidt Endowed Memorial Chair in Homiletics and Literature at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1997–2000), where he served as associate professor of practical theology. He has also served as pastor of Woodbury Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN (2000–2012), Cross View Lutheran Church, Edina, MN (1981–1997), and Grace Lutheran Church, Eugene, OR (1973–1981), and most recently as president of the Minnesota South District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (2012–2018). His experience integrating the arts and congregational life, his dramatic works, and his years of faithful preaching, all give him a wonderful voice to begin our conversation on the integration of preaching and the arts.
In The Beautiful Sermon, Dean Nadasdy sets preaching in the context of aesthetic theology. He advocates for the artfulness of preaching, inviting preachers to look first for what they see in a biblical text. He highlights preachers who have contributed significantly to aesthetic theology, among them Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and Jonathan Edwards. Identified and celebrated at the center of the book are seven elements contributing to the beautiful sermon. The various approaches to using images in preaching are explained. A chapter is given to the challenges and centrality of presenting the beauty of Christ in preaching. Finally, Nadasdy provides three sermons with commentary to illustrate the power of image to carry truth and provide beauty in a sermon. Throughout the book, works of art are cited for the beauty and impact they bring to preaching. See his plenary lecture at our most recent Theological Symposium on Beauty, here.