Item description for Theology Is for Proclamation by Gerhard Forde...
Overview In this work, Gerhard Forde makes a dashingly bold move to construct a whole systematic theology on the model of Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will. Forde continues Luther's polemic against every theology that fools with God apart from the Word. He drags systematic theology out of the study, sticks it into the pulpit, onto the altar, and under the waters of baptism so that it proclaims the gospel. He sets limits within which discussions of ministry and ecumenism must occur, if we are to remain proclaimers of the gospel. He writes a theology that is good for nothing but proclaiming the living Word of God.
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Studio: Fortress Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.5" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.62" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 1990
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800624254 ISBN13 9780800624255
Reviews - What do customers think about Theology Is for Proclamation?
Excellent Book for Bridging Systematic and Practical Theology! Jul 31, 2006
I recently finished reading "Theology Is for Proclamation" by Gerhard Forde, and it was quite good! When I picked up this book, I was expecting a straightforward book on evangelism, but this excellent book turned out to be a refreshing and pleasant surprise! Rev. Dr. Forde supplies solid theology from the Word of God, and then applies it to the proclamation; emphasizing that systematic theology should lead to proclamation. (Christ should not be buried by systematic theology!) This book also draws on Martin Luther's "Bondage of the Will" to round out an excellent book on practical theology! If you're looking for an in-depth, outstanding book on Lutheran theology, be sure to pick this one up! Also consider reading Gerhard Forde's "On Being a Theologian of the Cross," which is possibly his best work. It was written a few years after "Theology Is for Proclamation," and is much more clear and concise.
Less opacity, more clarity then Theology will really be for Proclamation! Nov 19, 2001
The first time I read Forde's book, I wondered if it had originally been written in English or if it was just a poor translation from another language. Forde's message is basically simple, but, as with many modern writers, he appears to think that simple truths must be conveyed in the most opaque fashion possible.
Martin Chemnitz' Two Natures in Christ, written on a far more complex subject than Forde's book, is easier to read and grasp -- in spite of the complexity of terms introduced in the first two chapters or so. Why? Simple, really. First, Chemnitz takes the time to define his terms clearly so that the reader understands beyond the shadow of a doubt; this Forde does not do well enough, if at all. For instance, "God does God for us"; what, pray tell, does that mean? Here, Forde is restating the message of the prophets: God does as He pleases with our salvation in mind. With reference to us, it pleased God to send His Son to die on the Cross for us. Thus, Forde takes the very simple Scripture message and convolutes it so that the reader is not at all clear as to what he means. God forbid that those proclaiming the Gospel message would do likewise.
Yet, a Forde reader, who is not guided by someone else, is left to wonder what that obscurely nonsensical expression, "God does God for us", means. That's the thing with Forde; he goes for the seemingly cute and the catchy expression without making it quite accessible to the reader. Likewise with "discontinuity", one is hard put to find Forde's definition of what he means by the term; yet he employs it. I've heard two divergent explanations of "discontinuity" and am still making up my mind regarding its meaning as Forde uses the word. That is poor writing which has lost sight of its purpose of communication. Would that Forde attempted to write with the same clarity of expression of the second Martin. In fact, to grasp fully the turgidity of Forde's prose, read any one chapter of any text by Chemnitz: Two Natures in Christ, Loci Theologici, Coena Domini/The Lord's Supper and then read a chapter of Forde's book. Relish the difference.
Forde essentially says nothing new -- tell the story, make the promise; indeed, the Gospel has already said what Forde states in Theology is For Proclamation. Moreover, the Gospel has said it better and more simply. If Forde is attempting to aid with techniques of Gospel proclamation, then he has a responsibility to communicate by writing with clarity, by selecting his diction judiciously, and, by striving to ensure that what he means is what his readers understand. Theology is too important to be muddled by the obscurantisms that are the unique characteristic of today's scholarship.
A Helpful Book Dec 23, 2000
The author is a professor at a Lutheran seminary in the USA. His great virtue is that he is a faithful expositor of Martin Luther's brilliant insights into Christian theology. His vice is that, like his mentor, he has a polemical disposition. Forde is quick to deride perceived opponents, to the point where he can be inconsistent in his judgments. I would rate this book as worthy of three and a half stars, but with the caveat that readers should look out for occasional inconsistencies. Forde provides an excellent explanation of Luther's doctrine of the Word. The Word is the divine Logos, second person of the Holy Trinity. The Word will reveal God, regardless of any scientific or historical discrepancies in the words written by humans about God that the church has assembled into the canon of books that comprise the Bible. This distinction between the Word of God, and the words of humans about God was made by Augustine in his Homilies on John's Gospel. Forde also gives a good presentation of Luther's teaching regarding the revealed and hidden God, and the lesser-known distinction between the preached and unpreached God. The omnipotent God controls the universe, therefore God is ultimately responsible for all evil. That is the God we cannot fathom, the "unpreached" God. But God also becomes a baby born in squalor in the first century, lives a humble life, and then dies a horrible death at our hands - for us. That is the "preached" God, the revealed God from whom we receive the gift of life. After explaining Luther's doctrine of the Word, however, Forde rejects John's Gospel as inconsistent with his theory of the mechanics of proclamation (which he largely borrows from Willi Marxen), because in John's Gospel Jesus claims divine titles for himself, and Forde finds this is unacceptable. That is a limited view. Surely the Word of God speaks through John as much as the Word speaks through Paul, and was not the compilation of the canon inspired by the Holy Spirit? Brevard Childs has reminded us that we must take each portion of the Bible as part of a collective witness to Christ, intended as such by the church when the canon was settled. And, when Forde vertures out of his area of immediate expertise, he can make some gauche remarks. For example, Forde makes a sarcastic reference to the Eastern tradition of having an icon of Christ seated on his throne of judgment (o Christos pantokrator) in their church buildings, but elsewhere Forde indicates that he favors the Alexandrian Christology that regards the Logos as having suffered while incarnate. Does Forde know that icons of Christos pantokrator always show Jesus with the stigmata? Far from being stupid, they portray an entirely biblical image (see Revelation) and are quite consistent with the Christology that Forde favors. Forde makes one significant reference to Karl Barth, but it is dismissive. Oddly, in his book Homiletics, a version of which first appeared in English in the 1960's, Barth says that all theology is a prelude to preaching, which is precisely the theme of Forde's book. Notwithstanding these occasional defects, this is a very helpful book that emphasizes important principles involved in the task of proclaiming the gospel. The most important of which is that we must remember what are human words and what is God's Word, and that preachers must humbly use their human words to set the stage for God's Word to enter the hearts of their hearers.
Forde Hits A Homerun Again! Sep 17, 1997
Theology is not meant to glorify library-bound scholars--its purpose is to enable proclamation! Gerhard Forde hits this home in this easy to read and wonderfully insightful book. Frequently using down-to-earth illustrations, he states his case with elegant simplicity. Regardless of your religious tradition, this book will enrich your understanding of God--guaranteed. You'll love it!