The Joseph Sittler Archives — The Expanding Scope of Grace
The Joseph Sittler Archives — The Expanding Scope of Grace
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The art and craft of preaching was of great importance to Joseph Sittler. Believing that the ordained ones are charged with "keeping The Story alive" from one generation to the next, he was concerned not only with how those ordained ones are prepared for their ministries, but also how they transmit the message. He had much experience as a preacher, first, as a parish pastor for thirteen years, then as a guest preacher in many churches, university, college, and seminary chapels throughout the country.

When he addressed the subject of homiletics, he would stress the importance of connecting the Gospel to the people in the pews, in their daily lives; of keeping abreast of what is going on in the world through TV and film, literature and the arts, and science and technology; of probing the meanings of the texts, asking, "What's going on here?", instead of restating the obvious or delivering a series of moral maxims; of attending to language.

To quote from The Anguish of Preaching (Fortress Press, 1966):

"Between these two worlds, the one that has enfolded men's thoughts and confession about Christ for hundreds of years, the other enfolding both a newness that is discontinuous with all that is past, and a continuity with it in the promise of God and the presence of the alive Christ- between these we must find a way, a witness, a word.

"The acceptance in faith and joy of precisely this tautness is the way of the Christian. It is the particular vocation, ordination, interior life and steady place of the preacher. He stands between the what has been and a presence whose present doing is a fact. But a fact unsecured by history. The preacher in a special posture stands between the "It is finished" and the tremendous word of the Apostle, 'The whole creation waits with eager longing.' Every Christian is indeed called to fill up what remains of the sufferings of Christ; it is the christological anguish of the preacher that he must speak of it! — speak it from behind, forward into the actuality of the day and situation that now is."

A sample of materials on Preaching available from the Archives

  • The Anguish of Preaching, by Joseph Sittler. Fortress Press, 1966, Book

  • The Haunting Allure of Jesus (Commencement Address at Trinity Seminary, Columbus, Ohio) Also in text form. Audiotape (5/22/82)

  • Preaching From Structure (United Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia), Audiotape (11/2.61)

  • Sermon at Chapel, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Chicago, Audiotape (6/4/75)




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The Anguish of Preaching by Joseph Sittler

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