Religious Involvement in Hearing Sermons. A Grounded Theory Study in Empirical Theology and Homiletics


Hearing sermons is an important religious practice for Christians worldwide. In Protestant theology as `theology of the Word’ it exceeds all other religious activities as a primary means of grace. Despite this centrality of religion in hearing sermons, empirical research on sermon reception has been conducted foremost from social, psychological, rhetorical and communicative perspectives. This study brings into focus the practice of listening as a religious practice. It provides answers to questions such as, how does preaching relate listeners to God, what is the function of faith in hearing sermons, and how do listeners become part of the community of faith? Based upon qualitative interviews with listeners and following the analytic methods of Grounded Theory the study presents an empirical theological theory and conceptualises hearing sermons as a way of getting religiously involved. It enriches the study of preaching with a specific religious understanding of what happens in hearing sermons.

Eburon Academic Publishers