The Baptist Way(s): A Rhetorical Analysis of Texas Baptist Topical Sermons on Original Sin and Salvation
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Sermons are a source of rhetorical power that unlock the key to people’s perceptions of religion, church, and Scripture; therefore, it is imperative that the homiletic genre be examined for persuasive tools, rhetorical structure, and language choice. For my thesis I will conduct a rhetorical analysis of Texas Baptist sermon rhetoric. My research examines topical sermons on “original sin” and “salvation” from pastors in the area of San Marcos, Texas. The churches of the participating pastors are affiliated with either the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) or the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). These two Texas conventions emerged from a controversial, political split in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) that took place between 1979 and 1990.
Cluster and narrative criticisms were performed in order to uproot the key similarities and differences between the two conventions. Conclusions from the cluster criticism served as a point of unification for the conventions, while the narrative criticism highlighted differences in preaching styles, life applications, and the use of illustrations.