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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Presbyterian preaching grew from roots in the Reformation, particularly the Calvinist wing. The fullest early expression of the character of Presbyterian preaching is in the Westminster Standards, documents produced in England by an assembly of Calvinist clergy and laymen in the mid-seventeenth century. These documents described the key qualities of Reformed, and thus Presbyterian, preaching: sermons grounded in the Bible, containing significant doctrinal content, and aimed at teaching and edifying congregants.The authors of the Westminster Standards prescribed preaching that was substantive and lively, filled with biblical and doctrinal content, and touched the hearts of hearers. Throughout the history of Presbyterian preaching, however, these twin goals were often difficult to attain. This tension between intellectual, content-centered preaching and more emotional, experience-centered preaching among Presbyterian is evident in such events as the Old Side–New Side controversy in the mid-1700s and the Old School–New School conflict from 1837 to 1869 (both in America), in Scottish Presbyterian preaching in the early nineteenth century, and in Korean Presbyterian preaching during the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twentieth century.Today as many Presbyterian preachers use digital media and conversational-style sermons, a strong desire continues for preaching that is clear, deeply theological and biblical, impassioned, and relevant.

Keywords: biblical preaching, John Calvin, doctrinal preaching, neo-orthodoxy, revivals, Westminster Standards

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