Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

A case of therapeutic preaching done well: Theological diagnostics in Von Balthasar’s sermon, ‘Joy in the Midst of Anxiety’

Neil F. Pembroke
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5393 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5393 | © 2019 Neil Pembroke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 January 2019 | Published: 30 July 2019

About the author(s)

Neil F. Pembroke, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; and, Department Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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It is argued that the proper way to construct and deliver a therapeutic sermon is to take a theocentric approach. Preaching, rightly understood, is proclamation of the good news that God has redeemed the world through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is by definition theological. Feeling pressure to be relevant, engaging and contemporary, a significant number of preachers fall into administering mini-doses of psychological self-help from the pulpit. Hans Urs von Balthasar’s homily, ‘Joy in the Midst of Anxiety’, is offered as a positive alternative. The sermon is theologically and homiletically analysed to show why it is an excellent example of theocentric therapeutic preaching.


Therapeutic preaching; Balthasar; Theocentric, Homiletics; Pastoral preaching


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