Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alas! Alliteration.

Sermonic alliteration.


Ah, such wonders of homiletics:
Disillusionment to Be Dispelled…Distractions to Be Defeated...Doubt to Be Destroyed.

Some go with simple, single words:

OK, but…I don't recall the rationale (sorry!) for the homiletic hemhorraging (ouch!) put forth in the following (excuse me!).

A. His Superior Identity
B. His Superior Importance
C. His Superior Influence

A. Sovereign Over His Creation
B. Sovereign Over His Creatures
C. Sovereign Over His Church

A. Price Of His Salvation
B. Power Of His Salvation
1.Provides Restoration
2. Provides Redemption
3. Provides Reconciliation
C. Proof Of His Salvation
(Huh? What happened to the “S” theme?)


I don’t mind a catchy title... Five fabulous facts for families

…but how about something a little more riveting: Five Festering Factoids of Failed Feminism

Having a plethora of “Ps” (pardon!) seem to be a big favorite of the brethren:
Provision, Passion, Peace, Possession, Persecution, Prayer, Presence, Preeminence, Particular, Propitiate, Paradigm.

Not too shabby, but Plodder is pleased to proffer possibilities (ow!) to append here:
Pickle, Pachyderm, Parsnip, Palpitate, Percolate, and especially Pretentious. I mean, why limit oneself to the usual? Be creative.

Now if you’re Adrian Rogers, prince of preachers (oops!) you get a pass. If you’re a plodding pastor (sorry!) whose pulpit personality (ouch!) is presently patchy (egad!) you might try just explaining and applying the Bible without such aids.

And when will SBC pastors disenthrall themselves of this artificial homiletical silliness?

Probably never.


Anonymous said...

And why should they want to disenthrall themselves? I personally like it and makes the sermon easier to remember and apply in my life. Not everything a preacher does is wrong even though some think so.

Scott Shaffer said...

I'm not clever enough to respond with alliteration, so I'll just say "Great post".

Anonymous said...

It seems to be the personal preference of prominent prreachers not only of the past but also the present whose proclamation to their people is presented with such professionalism. Bottom line, it's typically a pastor's personal preference that fits with his learing style, not anything wrong with it, nor is this style better than others. We must all remember that the creativity of the presentation (alliteration, video, stage props, narrative, etc.) is not where the "Power in the Pulpit" is found.

Anonymous said...

If the alliteration helps the preacher remember his sermon without leaning on a notebook of notes, then he should go for it. The process of alliteration often solidifies the sermon in the preacher's mind so he can communicate it from the heart. Like anything, it can be misused. It shouldn't be a requirement for good preaching or taken as an indicator of bad.

Dave Miller said...

Every once in a while I alliterate something just to prove I'm Baptist in spite of what the traditionalists say about me.

Jerry Vines said...

Tremendous truth tying the timely text to the tantalizing tool. Jerry Vines. Thanks.

William Thornton said...

OK, Jerry Vines gets a pass, too. :)

William Thornton said...

Oh, and I only use alliteration when I use Adrian's sermons.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of the following outline for a sermon on Christ's parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15), which I read in a book on homiletics many years ago (undoubtedly as an example of what not to do):

A. He cavilled
B. He travelled
C. He revelled

A. He went to the dogs
B. He lost his togs
C. He fed the hogs

A. He received the seal
B. He ate the veal
C. He danced the reel

Stephen Fox said...


Congrats Dr. Thornton. Jerry Vines reads your blog.

Vines knows we have our differences. My Mother walked out on one of his sermons; but my Dad has friends in West Rome Baptist where he was twice pastor.

I encourage Vines to Read Dochuk's Book From BibleBelt to Sunbelt. I honestly think he'll like it.

But in the spirit of whatever I do like Vines Jokes. I remember he told the one about the Fellow who went to see his psychiatrist with a slab of bacon around both ears and a poached egg on his head and Said: "Doc, it's about my wife."

You and he have probably heard this one; but a fellow last weektold me he knew a fellow in Spartanburg, S.C. who los 137 pounds overnight.
His wife left him.
Hope all yall are otherwise well.

Oh, just registered Anonymous above about the Prodigal Son outline.
My Dad's favorite was about Lot's Wife.

1. She was exalted
2. She Halted
3. She got Salted.

Gene S said...

If it alliterates it is:
(1) A stupid man's way to remember
(2) It is getting O.J. off his murder wrap
(3) It was a lecture by Leo Green at SEBTS who was included in all those "liberal Professors" at SEBTS----Dr. Green a "liberal" = give me a big break and admit you lied about SEBTS!!!!

Stephen Fox said...

I take offense at Gene Scarborough implying my Father was stupid.
Randall Lolley loved my Father as much as you claim he loves you.
With you I take STewart Newman's dissent over W.A. Criswell's harangue to Joinst Session of SC legislature in 56; but I think it was impolite of you to use my Friend Rev. Thornton's good natured post here as an opportunity to settle some score about SEBTS.
What the fundamentalists did to SEBTS was an outrage as Bill Friday the former chancellor of State University system told Cecil Sherman, but this was not the place to bring it up.
You have a blog. Write up your concerns there and then tip me and Thornton off at and maybe Rev. Vines will join us in exploring your exhaustive concerns.

Matt said...

I personally do not like alliteration, probably because I am young. As a listener, it distracts me from the text. As a preacher, it feels artificial and cheesy.

If it is a help to the preacher while he is delivering, then I can't knock it, as long as his exegesis is more thought out than the alliteration. Just my thoughts.