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Improving Preaching by Listening to Listeners

Sunday Service Preaching in the Malagasy Lutheran Church

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Hans Austnaberg

Improving Preaching by Listening to Listeners: Sunday Service Preaching in the Malagasy Lutheran Church explores the reaction of the congregation to Sunday preaching. Preaching has been a significant activity since the founding of the Lutheran Church in Madagascar in 1867. However, hardly any research has been carried out to explore this interesting field, particularly from the listeners’ perspective. This book is an attempt to remedy this situation.
With the aid of methodology from rhetorical studies, adapted into homiletics, this book investigates: How do the character of the preacher, the content of the sermon, and its emotional appeal impact the listeners in such a way that preaching becomes significant in their lives? Listeners consider the preacher himself important, both his spiritual and everyday life. They evaluate his good intentions, whether he believes in his own message, and whether his message is moulded by an encounter with the risen Lord. The Bible provides the sermon’s basic content and foundation, and The Holy Spirit is considered an active agent in the preaching event. The listeners encounter words from God through the sermon. They can experience change in their lives by listening to preaching from caring pastors who create presence for important issues for change to happen.
The Malagasy context and culture form the backcloth throughout the investigation, and this book specifically investigates Malagasy rhetoric, that is, the public speech tradition with regard to its possible role in increasing the impact of preaching on the listeners.
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Shepherds and Demons

A Study of Exorcism as Practised and Understood by Shepherds in the Malagasy Lutheran Church

Hans Austnaberg

The Malagasy revival movement, which started in 1894 and operates within the structure of the historical churches, continues to have a profound impact on Protestant church life. This book focuses on exorcism as practised and understood by the so-called shepherds (lay, unsalaried, consecrated church workers) and defines «exorcism» as the expulsion of demons and prayer with the laying on of hands. This study, with Malagasy actors at its centre, argues that exorcism constitutes a synthesis between the biblical message and the traditional Malagasy culture. The shepherds, who vehemently oppose traditional religion, understand exorcism as a practice appropriate for people with a wide variety of problems, and they assert that the purpose of exorcism is to create a living faith in Jesus. The shepherds consider the battle with demons absolutely decisive because it concerns nothing less than salvation or condemnation.