Allegorical tendencies in preaching and their relation to the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture
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SubjectSouthern Baptist Convention -- Sermons
Bible -- Evidences, authority, etc
Bible -- Allegorical interpretations
Allegory -- History
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This dissertation examines the relationship between allegorical tendencies and the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. Chapter 1 introduces the topic, setting forth the argument that the allegorical method presents an inherent danger to or denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. Chapter 2 clarifies the allegorical method by identifying its intrinsic components. From the starting point of the Cynic and Stoic philosophies of Hellenism, this chapter traces allegorism through its historical evolution in order to identify essential elements of the method. Chapter 3 presents a balanced doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. This chapter rectifies the superficial treatment of the doctrine in both scholarly and popular contemporary writing. Specifically, this chapter shapes the doctrine by identifying its essential elements. Chapter 4 examines those elements of allegorism which threaten the essential elements of the sufficiency of Scripture. Attention is given to the implications of ancient allegorical tendencies on authorial intent. In addition, this chapter explores several contemporary allegorical tendencies and their relationship to verbal meaning. Chapter 5 analyzes a decade's worth of sermons delivered at the annual meetings of the SBC in order to substantiate the thesis. The breadth of the sample offers insight into the current condition of allegorical tendencies in preaching, both hermeneutically and homiletically. Chapter 6 balances the sample with several expository sermons which uphold the sufficiency of Scripture. The key point of argumentation is that authorial intent--which is best represented by and through expository sermons--constitutes an essential part of the sufficiency of Scripture texts. Chapter 7 presents conclusions and findings. In addition, this chapter suggests several related avenues for others to pursue. This work contends that allegorical tendencies in preaching have a deconstructing effect on the authorial intent of Scripture texts, and by virtue, present an inherent danger to or denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. This work concludes that some form of the allegorical method is employed in contemporary preaching--perhaps unwittingly by those who in theory reject it.