Contemporary homileticians tend to identify evangelistic preaching as a distinct genre among homiletical forms. They rarely discuss it within the context of expository preaching; thus, they inadvertently categorize expository sermons and evangelistic sermons as two mutually exclusive forms. Therefore, the overarching concern is to bring the two together into one discussion and to explore issues of compatibility. To define the concern even further, this dissertation explores the viability of pulpit evangelism (preaching to unbelievers in the local church worship service) in a specialized approach to expository preaching, generally described as a series of verse-by-verse expositional sermons through books of the Bible. For purposes of clarity and consistency, the present author chose to identify this form as consecutive exposition.
After a brief introduction of the subject in the first chapter, the contents of the five chapters comprising the main body of the dissertation flow inductively and logically from broad categories of preaching to specific forms. Since an inextricable link exists between the preacher's homiletic and his overall theology of preaching, chapter two deals with this foundational issue.
Expository preaching is the subject of the third chapter. The goal is to arrive at a workable definition that supports the conclusions of the dissertation. With a definition established, the chapter concludes by presenting a defense of expository preaching from the standpoint of biblical precedence and theology of preaching.
Consistent with the flow of argument described above, the fourth chapter defines and defends consecutive exposition. The substance of the defense consists of a series of practical and spiritual benefits indicative of this approach and specific examples of homileticians in the history of preaching who have effectively modeled consecutive exposition.
In the fifth chapter, the dissertation explores evangelistic preaching, the second of the two major categories, and pulpit evangelism, a specific type of evangelistic preaching. Essentially the same approach appears as in the previous two chapters. Setting forth a defense of evangelistic preaching, and in particular pulpit evangelism, is important to the overall argument of the dissertation.
A synthesis of pulpit evangelism and consecutive exposition is the focus of the sixth chapter of the dissertation. This chapter places particular emphasis on the evangelistic aim of the sermon in relation to the biblical text and the spiritual formation of the audience. A key feature is a survey of conclusions offered by respected homileticians, including academicians in the field of homiletics and prominent practitioners of consecutive expository preaching.
Chapter seven brings all the germane points of research together in a summary of the overall argument. The researcher's conclusion is that consecutive expository preaching, as defined in the dissertation, represents the most effective approach to preaching and offers the best method for consistent evangelistic preaching. This approach allows the preacher to expose systematically the intended meaning of each portion of the Bible book in its context. When he comes to a biblical concept that clearly has gospel implications, there is the freedom to preach an evangelistic sermon whose primary aim is the conversion of unbelievers, and to do so without violating the context.