Professorial Lecture: Decolonizing the Homiletical Mind

Posted on April 29, 2019 by Kenyatta Gilbert

Lecture Outline

The central questions addressed in this lecture are:

  1. How might African American clergy leaders, specifically, and preachers in general, think more critically about preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in a world that has imagined Jesus as a White, male, imperialist? 
  • How might African American clergy free themselves from pedagogical practices of methodological imperialism and reclaim for themselves a culturally indigenous homiletical witness? 
  • How might a clearer theological understanding of eschatalogy and the “kingdom of God” or “reigndom of God” depose imperialistic readings of the Bible, bring social critique to the White evangelical movement, and refocus the preacher’s homiletical imagination?

Terms/Concepts    

Homiletics – thetheological study of preaching and the development and delivery of sermons.

Pedagogy –teaching method

Postcolonial criticism – deconstructing (reducing to its constituent parts) Western imperial history, texts, and practices to reveal the devastating impact of colonial exploitation.  

Biblical Hermeneutics  – determining how to apply the ancient Bible in and for the present.

Eschatology – a Christian doctrine that refers to “last things.”

Millennialism –refers to religious and political perspectives about history’s end coupled with an optimistic view of a promising future.

Pre-millennialism– a doctrinal view of world deterioration as the sign of the end and not progress or improvement.

Post-millennialism– a doctrinal viewthat Jesus will return after a literal thousand-year reign of peace and prosperity.   

Dispensationalism –an approach to theology and the Bible that is based on dividing history into “dispensations” or “economies,” which are seen in different phases of God’s progressive revelation.  

Apologetics– a theological/homiletical approach that uses categories of knowledge to defend Christian faith in response to explicit or implicit misunderstandings, challenges, and attacks in order to commend that very faith. 

Sources:  Frederick Ware, African American Theology: An Introduction; Joseph L. Price, Eds. A New Handbook of Christian Theology; Donald McKim, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. Ronald J. Allen and O. Wesley Allen Jr., The Sermon Without End.