University of Dubuque

Timothy Slemmons

 Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Worship
 B.S., Kansas State University; M.Div., Th. M., Columbia Theological Seminary;  
 Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; joined the U.D.T.S. staff in 2008.

 Contact info:
332 Severance, 563-589-3578.

"The questioning of authority is no new thing. Positively, it goes to the heart of the Protestant Reformations. Negatively, we see it at work in the doctrine of ‘the Fall.' The question is: How do we distinguish true authority from false authority? ‘Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals in whom there is no help ...' How do we engage in preaching that is genuinely authoritative, without being abusively authoritarian? Kierkegaard rightly defined preaching very simply: ‘to use authority.' Yet his thought has been used to cast doubt on preaching, indeed, on authority itself, so that preaching in mainline circles has come to doubt itself. Where will people turn who seek divine guidance if they do not trust the preaching of the Word? Preaching come to itself rightly recognizes the essential connection between Jesus Christ to whom all authority has been given and the task of proclamation in his name. Preachers who know whereof, or rather, of whom they speak, know the Lord! And in this relation may be found the true integrity and the true authority of preaching. The preacher's first duty is to seek, protect, cherish, and cultivate that relation. The duty of the preacher of righteousness is first, to do no further injustice to, to no longer misrepresent, the holy and loving, the true and merciful nature of the Triune God in whose name he or she preaches."

An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Slemmons has served churches in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Georgia and Jamaica. A past recipient (1994) of the David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award, his research interests include the importance of Kierkegaard for preaching, the sermons of Gilbert Tennent, the work of James E. Loder, and the endless negotiations between traditional and contemporary liturgics. His dissertation, "Toward a Penitential Homiletic: Authority and Direct Communication in Christian Proclamation," constitutes a significant rereading of Kierkegaard's contribution to the theory and practice of preaching. He has also called for and designed a supplement to the Revised Common Lectionary: Year D, which reclaims marginalized texts that have been excluded from the preaching cycle of the church and provides for their orderly integration into the seasons of the church year.