A simple sentence

“We have already concluded that, for purposes of preaching, the fruit of interpretation (of text, of listeners, and negotiating the distances between) is the statement of the message in a simple, affirmative sentence. . . . It has already been said that the message is best stated in the affirmative rather than the imperative lest the sermon be too hortatory and scolding, and in the positive rather than the negative lest the sermon be too much an indictment without the announcement of good news. What now needs to be emphasized is that the message statement be a simple rather than a compound or complex sentence in order to maintain unity and singularity of direction. Permit a few conjunctions into that sentence, a semicolon or two, perhaps an et cetera, and what happens? Fuzziness replaces focus and through the cracks between the poorly joined and disparate units of that overextended statement will creep every cause crying out for a little pulpit publicity and every announcement with its hand in the air insisting on a few lines in the sermon. We have all heard such sermons: they touch upon many topics, make some good comments, promote God and all worthy causes, intend for everyone the benefits of heaven, honor the Scriptures, and revere the saints, but they have an uncertain Alpha and no Omega at all.” (Craddock, p. 155)

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