Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Seminars 2008

From Text to Sermon
July 21- 25, 2008

Directed by Frederick Dale Bruner and Scott Hoezee

Funds provided by the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary

Seminar Description

Good sermons grow out of excellent textual work. Today, however, the demands on a pastor’s schedule all-too-often mean that taking the time needed to engage the text at a significant exegetical level is squeezed out. Pastors instead opt for what is easy: pre-packaged sermons from the Internet or sermons that scratch only the surface of the text while devoting significant time to telling stories or addressing trendy topics that are considered “hot” or “relevant” in the current cultural milieu. Some preachers have even gone so far as to adopt as the “text” of their sermons not biblical passages at all but popular movies, TV shows, and rock songs. But preaching that turns away from Scripture will not feed God's people with the nourishment of the Word they need nor will such sermons be something about which one can say with confidence, “Thus saith the Lord.” This workshop will aim to return preachers to their single greatest resource and homiletical foundation: the Word of God. Frederick Dale Bruner will help pastors not only retrieve the tools of good textual work, he will make those pastors hunger to use those tools again. Scott Hoezee will then guide the process of homiletical reflection on those texts so as to assist in the development of sermons that will truly proclaim God’s Word to a world that is at once increasingly ignorant of that Word and, just so, increasingly in need of that same Word.

To acomplish this, Frederick Dale Bruner will spend the week displaying the joy and the verve that comes from opening up God’s Word through a prayerful, rigorous exegesis and study of the text. Dr. Bruner will spend each morning workshopping a text and will then launch workshop participants into an afternoon’s worth of moving from that well-exegeted text to the next steps in sermon preparation. Later in the afternoon the pastors will re-gather, this time under the tutelage of not only Dale Bruner but of also Scott Hoezee, to share together their ideas on how to move from text to sermon. Each participating pastor will go home from this workshop not only with five new sermons well underway but more importantly will return home having learned a method on how to move nimbly from text-to-sermon in ways that will serve them each and every week in their work.

About the Directors

Frederick Dale Bruner is a renowned biblical scholar and the author of several influential books including "A Theology of the Holy Spirit" as well as his landmark two-volume commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, "The Christbook" and "The Churchbook."  Dr. Bruner spent most of his career as a teacher, first at the Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines from 1964-1975 and then at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, from 1975-1997.  In recent years Dr. Bruner has been working at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where he is writing a commentary on the Gospel of John.  Every Sunday he teaches a Bible study class at the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood. Wherever he has been a professor in a school he has taught an adult Sunday-School class in his church, where he works through whole books of Scripture.   Preachers value Dr. Bruner's commentaries and other writings because of their deep insights into the biblical text and the way those insights so naturally inform and enrich sermons.  Dr. Bruner is married to Kathy and they have two married sons.

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in North America and has served two congregations. He was the pastor of Second Christian Reformed Church in Fremont, Michigan, from 1990-1993. Then from 1993-2005 he was the Minister of Preaching and Administration at Calvin CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the spring of 2005 Scott accepted the Seminary’s offer to become the first Director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching. He has also been a member of the Pastor-Theologian Program sponsored by the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, where he was pastor-in-residence in the fall of 2000. He currently serves as one of three co-editors of "Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought" and is the author of several books including "Proclaim the Wonder: Preaching Science on Sunday" and "Remember Creation."