Participation Type

Paper

Presentation #1 Title

"Act-centered" Preaching to "Goal-Centered" Preaching—Recovering the Preaching of the Christian Tradition in the 20th Century

Presentation #1 Abstract

Entering the 20th century, the traditional approach to preaching was largely dominated by the assumption of a normative morality that was "act-centered" to identify sins or failures to live a morally responsible life. By concentrating on human behavior, traditional preaching tended to exaggerate certain aspects of Christian moral living. Insufficient attention was given to distinguishing between a simple, physical "act" and the circumstantiated activity that constitutes behavior. Although this approach serves an important function in the pastoral care of the faithful regarding the evaluation of personal ethics, it fell short when it came to its exhortation regarding the social responsibility of Christian living.

This presentation will demonstrate how, in light of the social and political effects of the World Wars and growing sensitivity to social movements, Christian preaching transitioned from an "act-centered" approach to a "goal-centered" approach in the 20th century; setting up not only an approach to address the ongoing social concerns in the 21st century, but also recovering the gospel preaching of the Apostolic Age.

At-A-Glance Bios- Presenter #1

Cary Dabney is Assistant Professor of Theology at Walsh University, Ohio. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies, with a minor in Interdisciplinary Greek from Youngstown State University, Ohio and received his Master of Divinity from Harvard University’s Divinity School. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Duquesne University, Pennsylvania, specializing in Catholic Moral Theology, American Catholicism, and Black Catholic Studies.

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"Act-centered" Preaching to "Goal-Centered" Preaching—Recovering the Preaching of the Christian Tradition in the 20th Century

Entering the 20th century, the traditional approach to preaching was largely dominated by the assumption of a normative morality that was "act-centered" to identify sins or failures to live a morally responsible life. By concentrating on human behavior, traditional preaching tended to exaggerate certain aspects of Christian moral living. Insufficient attention was given to distinguishing between a simple, physical "act" and the circumstantiated activity that constitutes behavior. Although this approach serves an important function in the pastoral care of the faithful regarding the evaluation of personal ethics, it fell short when it came to its exhortation regarding the social responsibility of Christian living.

This presentation will demonstrate how, in light of the social and political effects of the World Wars and growing sensitivity to social movements, Christian preaching transitioned from an "act-centered" approach to a "goal-centered" approach in the 20th century; setting up not only an approach to address the ongoing social concerns in the 21st century, but also recovering the gospel preaching of the Apostolic Age.