Original Research

Ordering ideas or ordering experience? E.L. Lowry’s homiletical plot structure – an exploration and evaluation

C. J.H. Venter
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 41, No 1 | a293 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v41i1.293 | © 2007 C. J.H. Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2007 | Published: 27 July 2007

About the author(s)

C. J.H. Venter, School of Ecclesiastical Sciences, Potchefstroom campus, North-West University, South Africa

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In this article E.L. Lowry’s homiletical theory is explored and investigated. The basis of his theory is that the view that a sermon is structured according to the ordering of ideas, arranged under an enforced extra-textual theme (idea), implies an outdated approach. He argues that instead of ideas experience should rather be ordered in a (new) homiletical theory in which the hearer of a sermon plays a prominent part. In this regard Lowry develops a profile of a sermon containing a narrative plot. In this suggested plot Lowry discerns five sequential stages: upsetting the equilibrium, analysing the discrepancy, disclosing the clue to a possible resolution, experiencing the gospel and anticipating the consequences. From this perspective he also suggests guidelines for preparing a sermon regarding the following: the form and focus of the sermon, the way in which an outline for the plot is produced and the goal of a sermon. Lastly he also directs attention to creativity in sermon-making. In the concluding section of the article Lowry’s homiletical theory is evaluated critically.


Homiletical Plot; Lowry EL; Ordering Experience; Ordering Ideas; Sermon Structure


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