“Truthing it in Love”: Henry Ward Beecher's Homiletic Theories of Truth, Beauty, Love, and the Christian Faith
Abstract: The preacher Henry Ward Beecher was once the most famous man in America. Although he is now often unnoticed, history has attested to Beecher's influence on important elements of contemporary rhetorical style and homiletic theology. In his largest pronouncement on the theory of preaching, his Yale lectures, Beecher set out a theory of preaching that declared the goal of preaching to be a core transformation of the listeners through an aesthetic connection to the Divine presence. As a part of this process, Beecher argued in favor of an ecumenically Christian form of “taste” that would sensitize the audience to the existence of a new kind of knowledge: a divinely inspired linkage of logos and pathos that Beecher referred to as the Doctrine of Love.