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4 Facets of Emotional Awareness

What to consider when you're preaching with feeling.

4 Facets of Emotional AwarenessSee theme

Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have said that rock-star preacher George Whitefield's gift was so strong, he could reduce masses of crowds to tears simply by saying the word "Mesopotamia." This raises the question of what kind of sermons Whitefield was preaching that the word "Mesopotamia" came up at all. But beyond that, it raises a critical question about preaching and emotions. The Great Awakening itself—in which Whitefield was a central figure—featured people fainting and weeping in response to sermons. It was controversial among church leaders in its day. (Has anything ever not been controversial among church leaders?)

The first sermon preached at Pentecost resulted in people being "cut to the heart," as Luke puts it in Acts 2, which seems to indicate a strong emotional response. It's hard to imagine a life-changing sermon that does not move our feelings. Jesus' stories themselves are filled with emotionally charged characters—runaway ...

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Displaying 1–5 of 5 comments

Grace Corpuz

May 30, 2017  1:57am

You articulate well the tug between objective truth and emotions, and the challenge of finding that balance. It is good to be mindful of both dimensions.

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Jonathan Markham

October 04, 2016  5:31pm


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Phil McLain

October 03, 2016  12:42pm

good and usable advice

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October 03, 2016  9:56am

This brother expresses himself so well I want to read everything he writes. How he understands preachers!

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October 03, 2016  9:33am

I think Aristotle had a lot right whenever he mentioned the three components of a persuasive speech. Ortburg you bring it home here. Thanks!

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