In the Depths of the Depression: Sermons Preached at Erwin United Methodist Church, Syracuse, New York by Robert A. Hill
More than two hundred years ago, John Wesley declared: "There is no holiness save social holiness!" He meant thereby to reject an exclusively individualistic version of Christianity, and to affirm his intention to "spread scriptural holiness across the land, and reform the nation." In Wesley's view, the spheres of influence denoted in the biblical terms "sin" and "salvation" thus have communal dimensions which both engage and encompass every individual life.
This collection of affirmations of faith, based on sermons delivered from a United Methodist pulpit, stands under the long shadow of Wesley's view. Sin is a corporate and cultural manifestation of separation from God. Salvation occurs through the invasion of God's grace, remaking common life. Preaching describes the separation and announces the invasion.
Robert Allan Hill teaches in the areas of Biblical Studies and Practical Theology. Since 1981 he has taught in several schools including McGill University, Syracuse University, Lemoyne College, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Northeastern Seminary, United Seminary, and various church settings. His passionate interest lies at the intersection of Scripture and life, especially in the work of preaching. Hence his research has combined publications related to the Gospel of John and Gnosticism, on the one hand, and preaching in ministry, on the other. For example, An Examination and Critique of the Understanding of the Relationship between Apocalypticism and Gnosticism in Johannine Studies appeared in 1997, while Snow Day: Reflections on the Practice of Ministry in the Northeast was published in 2000. Most of his writing, however, has been devoted to weekly sermons, over thirty years, in seven pulpits, some of which are collected, taped, and published. Hill has taught Greek, New Testament, Preaching, The Practice of Ministry, Church Administration, and other courses. His perspective on pastoral theology focuses on the special needs of the church in the northeastern USA in the twenty-first century. Hill is currently Dean of Marsh Chapel and Professor of New Testament and Pastoral Theology at Boston University.