A Jagged Contention: What People Need to Hear

“You can judge what people need to hear by what they’re most afraid of hearing. And what people seem to be most afraid of hearing is the notion of unqualified forgiveness–grace. When I preach a sermon on grace I see the people in the congregation smiling and nodding their heads. It is like 200 proof whiskey to people to understand that they are forgiven and loved and the fuss is all over. But by the time the service is over and they arrive at coffee hour, the smiles are gone and the people are full of qualifying questions. People want to hear the Good News but they dread the Good News. I don’t know why they dread it so much but they do. We are afraid of it. We are afraid of really being forgiven and being free. It’s very strange.”

– Robert Farrar Capon in an interview with the Wittenberg Door in 1983 posted this past week on Mockingbird’s website.


Why do we desire grace, forgiveness, and freedom and yet fear them so much? Why do so many people feel the need to qualify the gospel? Read the whole fascinating interview with Capon here.

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