A Jagged Contention: Preaching to the Bound


“The human problem is a desperate one. Since the captives believe themselves free, and since this belief is actually their captivity, God cannot come directly. God cannot come as the great and glorious One, the almighty One of all the magnificent abstractions. That is what holds the captives in bondage in the first place. God can only come as one who is just the opposite – the negation – of what we might choose. ‘Since… the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe’ (1 Cor. 1:21). God comes as the rejected one, beaten, spat upon, crowned with thorns, and wasted. We are on the way up, seeking to be gods; God is on the way down, becoming human. Will our paths cross? Or will they only pass like ships in the night? The proclamation  is the place where they meet. And the proclamation can only be shaped by the cross. For in the last analysis, the bound sinner cannot be saved directly. The bound sinner will never choose the crucified God. Jesus said as much: ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…’ (John 15:16). The sinner must die to be raised to newness of life. The proclamation is shaped by that realization. It administers death in order to call to life.”

– Gerhard O. Forde, “Theology is for Proclamation” (56)


What do you make of Forde’s description of how our presuppositions regarding the hearer’s bound will impacts the task of proclamation?

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