The Mission of the PhD Program
The PhD program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric aims to develop scholars with a critical awareness of the history of African American preaching and other forms of sacred rhetoric in the United States. PhD canditates study the theologies informing this history and practice, as well as the signature skills involved in the practice of African American preaching and sacred rhetoric. Though shaped by African American cultural values, the program works in concert with patterns of scholarship that bring African American traditions into dialogue with European American and other approaches.
Core Values of the PhD Program
- Unparalleled culture of generosity
- Commitment to exceed expectations
- Highest levels of academic rigor
- Working to the glory of God
- Desire to generate a preaching renaissance
- Scholarship to meet the needs of the community
- Innovative study in African American preaching
- Avoidance of life-altering debt
The Key Concept: The Practitioner-Scholar
The concept of the “practitioner-scholar” is key to the PhD program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric. That is, this program is not geared exclusively or even primarily toward producing tenure-track, full-time professors. Rather, it is geared toward producing practitioner-scholars deeply connected to the church and also to the academy. Practitioner-scholars engage in scholarship from the perspective of their location in ministry. For them, practice often suggests issues and possibilities that deserve PhD-level research and analysis.
"For years and years African American preaching was stereotypically considered ignorance, buffoonery and emotionalism. I believe the history, beauty, depth, power, and sheer genius of black preaching can generate a preaching renaissance to revive American Christianity in the 21st century."
- Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas
PhD in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric
Transformative Grant 2021
CTS has been selected as a Transformation Grant recipient in a new phase of funding from the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®. The $100,000 grant will support the Mixed Methods Preaching Conference, presented by the Seminary’s PhD in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric program. Planned for Spring 2022, the conference will address how densely-layered topics, such as HIV-AIDS, can be understood through preaching and scholarship integrating narrative, traditions of hospitality and community connectivity.