Forde Quote

I do love myself some Gehard Forde…

God does not come to us because we are free and responsible.  He comes all the way to us because we are not and he intends to make us so.  He comes to set us free and to give us that destiny which he himself has planned for us as his creatures.  He comes to set us free form our bondage, our illusions, dreams, and fictions, our enslavement to our own ideals, to the law.  He comes to give us the freedom to live, to bring forth life out of death.”

Gerhard Forde “Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life


Rock Bottom with Gerhard Forde

“Theologians of the cross… operate on the assumption that there must be–to use the language of treatment for addicts–a ‘bottoming out’ or an ‘intervention.’  That is to say, there is no cure for the addict on his own.  In theological terms, we must come to confess that we are addicted to sin, addicted to self, whatever form that may take, pious or impious.  So theologians of the cross know that we can’t be helped by optimistic appeals to glory, strength, wisdom, positive thinking, and so forth because those things are themselves the problem…  The cross does the ‘bottoming out.’  The cross does the ‘intervention.’  The addict/sinner is not coddled by false optimism but is put to death so that a new life can begin.”

Gerhard Forde “On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518

Martin Luther “Heidelberg Disputation

Gerhard Forde on the Spirit

“The Spirit is precisely unleashed upon us in the properly preached gospel, the Word of the crucified and risen one, which sets us free.  It is simply not… a ‘free-floating’ and occasional ‘force’ which may or may not visit this person or that one.  All such ‘free-floating’ spirits detached from the gospel were [in the reformation] highly suspect and deemed likely only to bind to the law in one subtle way or another.  The Spirit is detached from the Trinity.  So Luther, in outspoken fashion, could simply declare in the Smalcald Articles that ‘whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from the Word and sacraments is of the devil?’  Why the devil?  Because the devil too is spirit, of course, but he also the enemy, the accuser, the spirit of slavery…  What is at stake is always the gospel.  Spirit detached from preached Word of the gospel and sacraments can be devastating.  There is, after all, more than one spirit; and we are admonished to test them lest we fall prey to the wrong ones.”

Gehard Forde’s Lutheran response to the Pentecostal view of sanctification found in “Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification.”

Gehard Forde on Relevance


“The gospel of justification by faith alone is never relevant to this or any age.  It is the end of the age, the end of the old, the death of sinners.  God is not merely out to change, or even to convert old beings.  This is not like a new paint or remodeling job.  Faith in Christ is a death.  God is out to put the old being out of its misery once and for all.  Faith is not like choosing a new coat, or even a set of values.  I it being chosen.  And being chosen for the Old Adam and Eve is a dying because it means that God takes charge.  But it is not just a death; it is also a hope of resurrection, a being grasped by a new life of love, hope, and care.”

Gehard Forde “A More Radical Gospel

Happy New Year from Gerhard Forde

Here is some much needed grace-centered theology on Christian growth from Gerhard Forde that will forgive us for not being better people in 2013 and remind us that we probably won’t be much better in 2014.  In doing this he points us to the source of true life for Christians: God’s one-way love found in the Gospel.  Enjoy: Continue reading