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Gerhard Forde Redux

Started by JoshuaMc, May 30, 2024, 09:57:00 AM

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JoshuaMc

As I've been posting recently, I've found myself thinking more and more about Gerhard Forde. I was introduced to him in seminary and have come back, time to time to Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life.

In seminary, I was immediately drawn to his radicality as a balm for my Roman Catholic upbringing. When I was at PLTS, we had a lot of Luther (thanks to Tim Lull and Jane Stohl) and so I read Forde in the context of spending lots of time in the AE. Gerhard and Martin made sense to me side-by-side.

All this is to say that I guess I've not realised how much Forde's thought has molded my own. I still think his points in his 1987 "Radical Lutheranism" make sense.

I'll leave this quote from the article as food for thought. From my, admittedly limited, viewpoint, I can see the dynamic Forde describes in this remark at work in the ELCA and in the conservative Lutheran church bodies here in the US. I also know that in both groups there have been criticisms of Forde and where his theology has gone. Nonetheless, I think he did a good job diagnosing us:

QuoteVirtually all the failures and shortcomings of Lutheranism can be seen in the hesitancy to proclaim the gospel in uncompromising, unconditional fashion, to proclaim as though we were about the business of summoning the dead to life, calling new beings into existence. Most generally, it seems, the gospel is preached as though it were a repair job on old beings, a ''new patch on an old garment.''

Peace,
Josh
Joshua McGuffie
"But if you're feeling sinister, go off and see a minister..." (1996)

pastorg1@aol.com

Hi Joshua-

When I headed up the annual Leadership Conference at Asilomar I made sure that Pastor Forde was the first lecturer invited.

His is most wonderfully and radically a Lutheran heart.

Peter (His brother was a partner in my sister-in-law's law firm) Garrison
Pete Garrison
RC Catechist

JoshuaMc

Peter, thank you for this recollection! To hear him at Asilomar must have been something.

I guess I keep coming back to Forde because I think his diagnosis about dying people desperately trying to hang on to their lives (so staying in the law) points to the bizarre ways our churches engage with "the culture wars." In the ELCA social justice became the patch to fix the garment and in the conservative church bodies, so far as I can tell, it's whatever cause célèbre the evangelicals or the catholics have come up with this week (abortion, transgender issues, etc.) that will repair the garment. None of these things are the gospel.

Peace,
Josh 

Joshua McGuffie
"But if you're feeling sinister, go off and see a minister..." (1996)

Revpeter

Forde was one of my favorite professors (90-94) Very dry lecturer but I learned a lot.
ELCA Pastor serving in NW Iowa

Dave Benke

Quote from: JoshuaMc on May 30, 2024, 12:51:04 PMPeter, thank you for this recollection! To hear him at Asilomar must have been something.

I guess I keep coming back to Forde because I think his diagnosis about dying people desperately trying to hang on to their lives (so staying in the law) points to the bizarre ways our churches engage with "the culture wars." In the ELCA social justice became the patch to fix the garment and in the conservative church bodies, so far as I can tell, it's whatever cause célèbre the evangelicals or the catholics have come up with this week (abortion, transgender issues, etc.) that will repair the garment. None of these things are the gospel.

Peace,
Josh 



I don't know whether Forde was connected in any way to this outfit, but I just got a post on a different social outlet inviting me to sign up for a daily dose of the Gospel:  https://www.1517.org/.

For reasons unknown to me, there were overtures at the last LCMS convention to have the organization declared guilty of heterodox tract and missionary activities (Constitution Article VI 2c).  This did not occur because 1517 is not a Missouri Synod organization.  They can't be thrown out of something they're not in, apparently. 

However, 1517 is
a) dedicated to the Gospel and its proclamation
b) not, as far as I can tell, stuck in pro/con mode on the culture wars

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

JoshuaMc

Dave,

1. 1517 is a SoCal thing so I've had the pleasure of meeting some of their folks. I think the participants skew largely Missouri and were part of the Concordia Irvine theological cadre run by Rod Rosenbladt (+). They're big on grace!

2. I'm grateful for having learned about a new life goal, which is being declared guilty of heterodox tract and missionary activities. This would mean I was writing tracts and engaging in missionary activities, which would mean I'd actually have time on my hands to do those two things!

Peace,
Josh
Joshua McGuffie
"But if you're feeling sinister, go off and see a minister..." (1996)

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