Augsburg Fortress

The Word Made Plain: The Power and Promise of Preaching

The Word Made Plain: The Power and Promise of PreachingThe Word Made Plain: The Power and Promise of Preaching
Preaching mediates the word of God into a cultural matrix. And no American preaching has done so more effectively and powerfully than African American preaching, claims noted homiletician James Harris. Known for its rhetorical strength, social-justice orientation, and dead-on connection to the community's lived experience, black preaching is here analyzed and proposed as a model for all preaching.

Harris grounds black preaching in the self-understanding of the historic black church and its most prominent preachers, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Samuel Proctor. Harris also explores the hermeneutical and aesthetic dimensions of preaching, especially at the intersection of sacred text and the broader culture. He then lays out the specific distinguishing characteristics of black preaching, including verbal cadence and rhythm, use of gestures, and, most thoroughly, the narrative model of the sermon. His last chapter, ''Preaching Plainly,'' provides specific instructions on how to put the sermon together employing this model.
  • This item is not returnable
  • This product ships separately within 10 business days of placing your order
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800636876
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Pages 178
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Publication Date Jul 14, 2004


"Harris has done his homework. He has exceeded other homileticians by not only unpacking the nature of Black preaching, but also in what others have not done as well: He has related this theory of the art to a wide and interdisciplinary gamut of philosophers and scholars to show what the world at large can appreciate and learn from this noble heritage of the African American church."
— Gayraud S. Wilmore, Professor Emeritus of Church History, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta

"Black preaching in all its powerful dimensions comes alive in this work. It testifies to Dr. Harris's genius as a homiletician in the best tradition of the African American church. But The Word Made Plain also speaks to the kind of homiletic power and artistry needed in the pulpits of churches everywhere today."
— Lewis V. Baldwin, Vanderbilt University

"James Harris does a marvelous job of describing preaching as a dialogical experences: he encourages preachers to discover the complex in that which is apparently simple, to simplify the complex, and to make it all plain through application."
— Paul Scott Wilson, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto