Posts tagged "Gerhard Forde"

Forde on the Bound (Religious) Will and Freedom

From Gerhard Forde’s Where God Meets Man, one of the most grace-packed bits of Lutheran theology out there, despite the retro cover design:

197424“It is in this theology of old versus new that we can see, finally, the reason for Luther’s formulation of the problem of bondage and freedom. The old Adam is totally bound. No compromise is possible with him. To allow him a ‘little bit’ of freedom is to open the doors to the whole sticky attempt to combine grace with his fraudulent spiritual ambitions. It is to bind man to his self-imposed legalisms and reduce God to his helper. It is to reintroduce the insipid piety of the ‘little bit.’ There is absolutely no way to cure this old Adam, no way to allow him into the picture. He is ‘totally depraved.’ He must die. And that is just what the Gospel means. The cross and resurrection sounds his death knell. Almighty God moves onto the scene to reclaim his own.

And so the gospel is the announcement and realization of total freedom. It is not a matter of little bits. God moves in Christ to raise up a new man – a completely free man – not just to do a partial repair job. When the old Adam is put to death one is set free from bondage to spiritual ambition, legalism, and tyranny. And Luther, for one, meant this quite literally. One is absolutely free. It is a total state.”

“We Rap About What We See, Meaning Reality”: The Prophetic Voice of Hip-Hop

“We Rap About What We See, Meaning Reality”: The Prophetic Voice of Hip-Hop

“A theologian of the cross says what a thing is. In modern parlance: a theologian of the cross calls a spade a spade. One who ‘looks on all things through suffering and the cross’ is constrained to speak the truth…it will see precisely that the cross and the resurrection itself is the only answer to that problem, not erasure or neglect.” – Gerhard O. Forde

I admit: I am frontin’ when I talk hip-hop. I was raised on 90s country and Neil Diamond. I didn’t hear my first sample until high school when a friend of mine popped N.W.A.’s Straight Outta…

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Dead Faith and Learning to Sing Lullabies

Dead Faith and Learning to Sing Lullabies

An amazing portion from one of Gerhard Forde’s ‘responses’ in the Five Views of Sanctification book:

I think that most of our talk about [sanctification] represents the bad conscience of the old (moral or immoral!) being who has not really been put to death and so is worried because salvation as a free gift seems too easy and cheap. Since the old being has not died, the law is still in some sense in effect, and so sanctification becomes merely a repair job on the old, a progress according to the law, a transition from vice to virtue for the continuously…

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Adrian Peterson’s Theology of Glory (and Why It’s Unhelpful)

Adrian Peterson’s Theology of Glory (and Why It’s Unhelpful)

Perhaps you know the story: Adrian Peterson, who suffered from an injury that was to alter his career (tearing his ACL), returned the next year and had such a good season that he was named the NFL’s most valuable player. Players who tear their ACL usually don’t bounce back very well or very quickly, let alone win MVP awards. But Peterson is now on track to break Emmit Smith’s all-time rushing record. This is remarkable, and Peterson’s recognition is extremely well-deserved.

Anytime a star athlete overcomes adversity and succeeds, the sports world basks in the celebratory glory along with the triumphant…

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Tiger Woods: Theologian of Glory

Tiger Woods: Theologian of Glory

Tiger Woods’ new ad campaign (or, more accurately, Nike’s new ad campaign featuring Tiger Woods) is making the rounds. Featuring Woods staring down a put, the tagline is “Winning Takes Care of Everything,” a quote attributed to “Tiger Woods, World #1.” There has been much debate about the taste level of this ad, seeing as how Tiger Woods remains a divorcee with less than full custody of his children. Has “everything” really been taken care of? Is this an appropriate message to be sending to children?

The great Gerhard Forde (via the greater Martin Luther) talked about…

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Grace in Addiction: Stanley Runs Into Barbed Wire

Grace in Addiction: Stanley Runs Into Barbed Wire

Continuing with our series of previews of our recent publication Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody, here’s a section from the chapter having to do with Step 7, i.e. “Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.”

An important part of parenting comes when the parent makes a mistake. Perhaps tempers flare in a regrettable way. Or maybe a crucial decision turns out to have been a misstep. Maybe the parents move their child into a new school that proves to be a poor match, and the child has to switch back later. God’s grace is…

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The Mighty Breakup: Conditional Calculations, Unconditional Promises and the Beginning of New Life

The Mighty Breakup: Conditional Calculations, Unconditional Promises and the Beginning of New Life

Alrighty kids, time for another dynamite portion of Gerhard Forde’s dynamite essay in Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification. I assure you that the 35th anniversary of Rumours this week is purely coincidental: 

Justification by faith alone, without the deeds of the law, is a mighty breakup of the ordinary schemes of morality and religions; a mighty attack, we should say, on the theology of the old being. The fact that we are justified before God–the eternal Judge, Creator and Preserver of all life–unconditionally for Jesus’ sake and by faith alone, simply shatters the old being’s entire system of values and…

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Lance Armstrong Redeems…Lance Armstrong?

Lance Armstrong Redeems…Lance Armstrong?

As I write this (Wednesday, January 16), Oprah Winfrey has confirmed that, in an exclusive interview taped on Monday to air on Thursday, Lance Armstrong has admitted to the use of performance enhancing drugs. At this point, this is a total snore. With the baseball writers’ recent decision to not vote a single player into the Hall of Fame (some simply for the possession of bacne), PED accusations and confessions are like Beanie Babies: when everyone’s got one, no one cares.

The Wall Street Journal (online) has a piece in the January 15 issue called “Behind Lance Armstrong’s Decision to Talk”…

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The Top Theology Books of 2012

The Top Theology Books of 2012

The following is a list of my top Mockingbird theology books of 2012 (in no particular order).

- Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian

Tchividjian does it again. Thoughtful, provocative, and deeply encouraging, “Glorious Ruin” places suffering at the heart of the Christian life and what we understand about God, but probably the biggest virtue of this book is its personal and accessible tone. Suffering is never spoken of in cold abstraction from its down-to-earth reality. It’s no wonder this book has gotten so much attention on this site.

- Justification Is for Preaching edited by Virgil Thompson

A much needed book for preachers and…

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The Art of Getting Used to Justification

The Art of Getting Used to Justification

Perusing our archives the other day, I was surprised to discover that we’ve never quoted from Gerhard Forde’s crystal clear, absolute must-read essay on sanctification from the somewhat lazily titled Five Views of Sanctification. Well, today is the day we rectify that oversight:

Sanctification, if it is to spoken of as something other than justification, is perhaps best defined as the art of getting used to the unconditional justification wrought by the grace of God for Jesus’ sake. It is what happens when we are grasped by the fact that God alone justifies. Is is being made holy, and as such,…

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Forde Friday: On the Death of Self

Forde Friday: On the Death of Self

I was thinking this week about how Christians tend to think about “dying to self”. Certainly there’s something to be said for the mortification of the flesh, fighting sin and all that. But what if Jesus’ call to lose your life in order to gain it was less of a call to selling all your possessions in an everything-must-go yard sale and more of a passive…dying. As in, the death is not something we achieve, but something we receive? Ladies and gentlemen, the unsurpassed, late-great Dr. Gerhard Forde (from his “Sermon on the Death of Self”):

“Can you see that this…

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Forde Friday: The Prison of Free-Lunch-Think Versus The Gospel

Forde Friday: The Prison of Free-Lunch-Think Versus The Gospel

Gerhard Forde, Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life, pg. 24

The gospel of justification by faith is such a shocker, such an explosion, because it is an absolutely unconditional promise. It is not an “if-then” kind of statement, but “because-therefore” pronouncement: because Jesus died and rose, your sins are forgiven and you are righteous in the sight of God! It bursts in upon our little world all shut up and barricaded behind our accustomed conditional thinking as some strange comet from goodness-knows-where, something we can’t really seem to wrap our minds around, the logic of which appears closed…

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Awake, 50/50 Hypocrisy, and Christian Progress

Awake, 50/50 Hypocrisy, and Christian Progress

This piece comes from Mockingbird friend Jason Redcay.

After I became a Christian, I still thought Christians were hypocrites. Like anyone, our standing before the Law reveals hypocrisies in spades. And yet a Christian is said to be sanctified, made good, holy, righteous… a saint when they are still so obviously, well, not. How can it be, the reality of living in two worlds so distinctly and fully? I watched the new series Awake the other night and began to see some parallels.

In this series police detective Michael Britten is newly returned to work after being in a car crash along…

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The Cross As Moral Striving?

The Cross As Moral Striving?

Bad PR dies hard. Somehow, the word got out that Christianity is about moral reform and our inner 2nd-grade, grumpy-pants teacher has been looking over our shoulders ever since. Despite the insistence of St. Paul, Luther, Calvin and a host of other Reformers, faithful laymen and preachers that we’re free in Christ, we’ve had a 2,000 year battle on our hands. Just think of the many bumper-sticker falsehoods floating around. You know, “Do your best, and God does the rest. “Just follow your heart”. Or America’s favorite (non) verse “God helps those who help themselves.” The sentiment is always the…

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Rotting Flowers, Barn Filth and the Grace of Two Little Kids Talking

Rotting Flowers, Barn Filth and the Grace of Two Little Kids Talking

I’ve been enjoying gettin’ a little funky (for a pasty white guy) with NPR’s Snap Judgment Radio Show – “Storytelling with a Beat”. Their recent episode on Absolution absolutely floored me. Host Glynn Washington told an autobiographical story that made for an incredible illustration of grace, of love begetting love. Glynn was born in Detroit but his family moved to the Michigan country side when he was little. The story begins with little Glynn waiting for the bus on the first day of school:

I stepped on the loud bus and it got real quiet. See, we were the only black…

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