From the Preface:
The thesis of this book is straightforward. Systematic theology, whatever else it might be for, has to be for proclamation. Not, heaven forbid, that systematic theology is what is to be proclaimed! That, I contend, is precisely one of the more persistent misadventures. Systematic theology, whether good or bad, gets substituted for and displaces proclamation. I contend here that systematic theology, while not itself to be confused with proclamation, should be the kind of thinking that advocates, fosters, and drives to proper proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ; it should be a systematic reflection that promotes the speaking of the promise.
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“In whatever manner one may seek to settle the endless debates about Jesus’ historical self-understanding, systematic theology has to reckon with the probability that the ‘historical Jesus’ did not, at least openly and explicitly, apply titles of divine majesty like Christ and Lord to himself. The application was made explicitly in the subsequent proclamation of the postresurrection church. So a discontinuity between the Jesus who preached and the Jesus who is preached has become inescapable.” (Page 61)
“It is only in the concrete proclamation, the present-tense Word from God, spoken ‘to you’ the listener, that the abstraction is broken through for the moment and God no longer absconds but is revealed.” (Page 17)
“Proclamation, as we shall use the term in this study, is explicit declaration of the good news, the gospel, the kerygma” (Page 1)
“I take systematic theology, therefore, to be the kind of reflection that takes place between yesterday’s and today’s proclamation. One who hears the proclamation reflects on it so as to say it again in a different time and context.” (Page 4)
“The assertion that God suffers accomplishes nothing apart from a systematic theology that fosters a reconciling proclamation.” (Page 19)
Gerhard Forde makes a dashingly bold move to construct a whole systematic theology on the model of Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will. Forde continues Luther's polemic against every theology that fools with God apart from the Word. . . Forde writes a theology that is good for nothing but proclaiming the living Word of God.
—Carl E. Braaten, professor of systematic theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Here is a theologian, who believes in proclamation! Working from a distinction between God preached and the hidden God not preached, Gerhard Forde develops a theology for preachers. The thought is edgy; the style is exciting.
—David G. Buttrick, The Divinity School,Vanderbilt University
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