[Standards of Judgment for Preaching by Dr. Isaac R. Clark]


Isaac R. Clark

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Isaac R. Clark Memorial Collection

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circa 1963

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In his homiletics class at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Dr. Isaac R. Clark talks about standards of judgment for preaching. Dr. Clark gives four standards: ethos, pathos, logos and Theos of preaching. Within his framework he discusses morality, and also warns against the seminarian desire to prove his education to church laymen.

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00:00:21 Clark talks about Zion ecclesiastical thief and general conference, and one of the minsters stealing from the church.

00:03:48 Talks about two unethical fallacies in preaching given by the Black minster. The first is preaching a message where the intended people are not there to hear it and the message does not get to them. The second is preaching helped Black people there have a false sense of religious pride and a delusion about themselves.

00:05:46 Talks about if preaching is to be relevant it must be judged by the criteria of ethos bringing the Christian proposition to bear on personal sins of all.

00:08:03 Talks about the difficulty of how to do and to be something being Black in a discriminating culture. States morality has little to do with circumstances, but has all to do with one’s own moral decision in good or bad circumstances.

00:10:25 Talks about the moral disease that has no respect of person.

00:13:12 Talks about the second preaching standard of pathos, expressing meaning of proposition where men can get it, and getting on same level with men in terms of their experience through language.

00:16:58 Talks about how the use of communal experimental pathos language is a lesson hard for some seminarians to learn. The reason they think it not worth doing is because they want to prove to the fool that they have an education (B.D.).

00:18:30 Talks about how seminarians sermons may grab people intellectually but not emotionally because they are not grounded in their living experiences. Talks about them introducing strange authorities like Barth, Tillich etc.

00:25:55 Talks about the third standard for judging the body of sermons is logos. Feeling is indispensable to religion but does not advocate pure emotionalism.

00:29:38 Talks about the two meanings attached to logos. Formal logic (structural, sequence, process flow of ideas) has to do with what one says, and ontological logic having to do with what is.

00:35:32 Talks about how consistency is crucial in preaching. What a preacher says in the beginning must be supported by and consistent with what he or she says in the middle and the end.

00:37:29 Talks about the relationship between ontological logic and existential facts. Ontological logic does not mean one is necessarily only talking about existential facts physical facts. Facts can be ontologically true but not all ontological truth has to be matters of fact.

00:41:35 Talks about the fourth and final standard for judging - the soundness of sermonic bodies Theos. Theos as making a theological judgment of whether or not the divine reality is being communicated.

00:44:27 Talks about how out of all the judgments that can be made about preaching, Theos is the most crucial one that must be made.

00:50:08 Audio cuts off.


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