A Jagged Word


“The point of preaching is that it is the instance in which the God who rules all tings by necessity reveals what it is that he necessarily wills. The preaching, that is, has the authority from the Lord Jesus actually to do the electing! This is usually astounding news to most Christians and unfortunately to too many preachers. The result is that instead of preaching or proclaiming, the church ends up telling stories or lecturing on selected religious topics. This, essentially, is to take the place of Erasmus when he declared that one should not bother the common herd with such difficult topics as diving necessity, election, predestination, and the like.

“But how does Luther respond? He goes right to the heart of the matter: the preaching, the proclamation. ‘If God does not govern all things by his unchanging power, who will believe his promises?’ So we have the strange situation in which that which was considered the cause of the problem is taken by Luther to be the solution. Here we come again to a fundamental parting of the ways! Erasmus asks how there can be faith, ethics, true piety, in short, true Christian life if God rules all things by immutable necessity. Luther maintains that faith cannot be sure of itself unless God does so rule. For then we would be in the hands of just that God from whom we are attempting to escape: fate!”

– Gerhard O. Forde, “The Captivation of The Will” (67-68)