The Rhetoric of the Pulpit treats the sermon as the single most important factor in evangelism for a parish, and also the most important factor in the spiritual growth of both the congregation and the pastor. With emphasis on the Word as the foundation, the author adds music and liturgy to the sermon's structure to build a unified worship experience. Recognizing that the Word is truth, but that the truth needs to be made to seem true, the book offers sound, practical advice on sermon preparation based on both classical and contemporary communication theory.
Sermon preparation is viewed as a process that begins with downloading the Word, followed by productive meditation. The process then moves through the rhetorical steps, from a search for content to the sermon's delivery.
Throughout the book, the rhetorical principles are treated as a subordinate element to the Word, a means of giving effectiveness to the truth. The Rhetoric of the Pulpit aims to reflect the spirit of Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Paul, and Kenneth Burke.