The Sermon without End

A Conversational Approach to Preaching

By Ronald J. Allen, O. Wesley Allen, Jr. Published
Paperback image ISBN: 9781630883218 $29.99 Buy
eBook image ISBN: 9781630883225 $29.99 Buy
A new model for post-apologetic preaching in a pluralistic world.

A New Model for Post-Apologetic Preaching in a Pluralistic World.

The relationship between preaching and the public sphere has long been debated. Three different theological approaches tend to dominate the discussion. In different ways, these approaches take into account the movement from the modern mindset of the mid-to-late 20th century to the emerging postmodern worldview.

In The Sermon without End, authors Allen & Allen thoughtfully offer a fourth option, one that in their view has not received much attention, but which offers a distinct and especially helpful perspective. It is a new and dynamic conversational model, reaching beyond the earlier work of Tillich and Tracy. In this homiletical framework, conversation takes place in multiple directions between the text or tradition and the world today. It is preaching in conversation, not just toward but with voices from the public sphere.

The book provides a solid foundation for understanding this post-apologetic approach, but it importantly goes on to offer practical, real-pulpit guidance for implementation in a preaching ministry. It is a book for both scholars and practicing preachers who wish to reach people in meaningful and significant ways, and in ways that make sense for today.

"This book deserves to be widely applauded. It provides a post-apologetic lens to illuminate the history of various modern homiletical discourses even as it envisions a postmodern one. ... I strongly recommend this book for homileticians, preachers, and lay people alike." - Duse Lee, Boston University School of Theology - Reviewed in Homiletic


The Sermon without End develops a comprehensive, generous, and readable argument for a less assertive-argumentative and more conversational approach to preaching. Without accommodating or overreacting to postmodern culture, Allen and Allen invite preachers to rethink sermons as genuine conversations about the meaning of the gospel with the many and diverse persons in their increasingly multicultural and multireligious ‘neighborhoods.’ This book reads like a breath of fresh air in the midst of the often-stifling debate about what churches need to be doing in postmodern culture.”

—John S. McClure, Charles G. Finney Professor of Preaching and Worship, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, TN 


“Allen and Allen present a conversational approach to theology and preaching that takes seriously the church's location between modernity and postmodernity. Their lively and accessible imagery will encourage preachers to take a closer look at their own ‘homiletic neighborhoods’ as they search for words to engage in reciprocal, unending conversations with a multitude of others.”

—Sarah Travis, Sessional Lecturer and Minister in Residence, Knox College, Toronto School of Theology, Toronto, ON



“I encourage you to join Ron Allen and Wes Allen’s walking tour. They will help you see the neighborhoods and dwellings preachers and congregations inhabit in new eye-opening ways. These habitations have nurtured and encouraged but, as the authors suggest, they are not where we should be living in this postmodern age of rapidly changing cultures. Allen and Allen invite us to move to a new neighborhood of postapologetic preaching. This neighborhood is one shaped by listening, respecting the other, and reciprocating conversations that contribute to the way our preaching helps to make meaning in God’s world.”

—Lucy Lind Hogan, Hugh Latimer Elderdice Professor of Preaching and Worship, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC 


About the Authors

Ronald J. Allen

Ronald J. Allen is Professor of Preaching and Gospels and Letters at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the author of several books on preaching including Sermon Treks: Trailways for Creative Preaching from Abingdon Press.  

O. Wesley Allen, Jr.

O. Wesley Allen, Jr., is Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Preaching at Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, Texas. He is the author of A Homiletic of All Believers, Preaching and Reading the Lectionary, Matthew: Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries and several other books. For many years he was Professor of Preaching at Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, Kentucky.