The rhetorical tradition is absolutely central to the Western tradition. The Apostle Paul was obviously educated in that tradition, given his highly literate use of various rhetorical devices throughout his letters. The early Church Fathers, such as Augustine and Chrysostom, employed traditional rhetoric while re-tooling it for specific ecclesiastical needs (homilies, teachings, biblical exegesis). The Reformation was fueled in part by a return to classical rhetoric (Melancthon, Luther’s right-hand man, wrote a widely influential textbook on the subject).
In the modern era, writers as various as C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers, Frederick Buechner, and Annie Dillard use the full complement of rhetorical techniques to move us and instruct us.
Here is a useful guide to rhetoric as it surrounds us in the American tradition: American Rhetoric.
This site is full of helpful features, such as a speech bank of famous American speeches, apologetics link, and –my favorite part of the site—examples of speechifying in movies. The other part of this site I like is the “rhetorical figures in sound,” in which you hear a variety of speakers, many who are famous, display figures of speech. Enjoy.