Augustine’s 3 goals will score

Pattie Crider

WRT 305

Response  10

October 2, 2013

Augustine the party boy

Augustine the party boy


Augustine’s 3 goals will score

Augustine used rhetoric to achieve three goals: to instruct, to please and to persuade.  He believed in using three styles of speech, subdued, moderate and grand, to achieve his three goals.  The application of this rhetorical approach to Christian doctrine is an effective way to formulate a sermon and share with an audience. Augustine is now a saint, so he apparently knew what he was preaching about.

So does Augustine’s method work in the twenty-first century? Yes, it does, and this is how.  Augustine taught Christianity to an audience or congregation, in person, using the appropriate style to properly inform, please and persuade. Presently, preachers are doing the same, only now, they are on television or the Internet. The change of setting does not change the development process or the way the speech is delivered.

When a preacher wants to teach, they speak in a subdued tone, allowing the information to register with the listener. When a preacher wants to please an audience, such as retelling a Biblical story or passage, a more lively style of delivery is used to draw them in with their words. And when a preacher feels action from an individual is necessary, his words will be shared in grand eloquence, demanding the listening ear of the audience.

Augustine noted that the delivery of a speech seeking to achieve his goal may need to be adjusted depending on the audience. I understood that to mean, if his audience would benefit (learn) from a more or less dramatic speech, then it should be so adjusted. Preaching on television or online (and I haven’t watched much) seems to regularly be in the grand style. This could be for many reasons, possibly because the preacher knows the sermon can be viewed by an unlimited number of people.

I’m not a fan of preachers on television or the Internet because so many in the past have fallen short of being “good men” and failed miserably at having a “divine love” for God. Their motives seem driven by dramatic speeches in hopes of receiving monetary donations. Do all preachers who have a presence on television or even YouTube mean they are not “good men”? Of course not, but I would prefer to be taught, pleased or persuaded by a preacher that stands before their congregation and moves me to action in person with their language.

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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