Preach the gospel, not the text – 1

What’s a preacher to do? Preach the text? Or the gospel?

Even Gerhard Forde said preaching is “doing the text” to believers.[1]

But doesn’t that work better with some texts more than others?

For example, when the lectionary has those “take up your cross” texts which presuppose that we can and must do something to make salvation work: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:38).[2]

What do you do with a text like that?

What did Forde do?

In this sermon, On Death to Self, Forde preaches the gospel even though he is preaching about “dying to self,” and “taking up your cross.”

[1] Gerhard Forde, Theology is for Proclamation (Minneapolis; Augsburg Fortress, 1990) 155-158. Forde, “Speaking the Gospel Today,” The Preached God, ed. Mark C. Mattes, and Steven D. Paulson (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007) 193.

[2] Matt 10:38-39 and parallels Mark 8:34-35 and Luke 9:23-24. See also Matt 10:33 “whoever denies me … I will also deny….” Luke 14:27: “Whoever does not bear his own cross….” Luke 17:33: “…whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Matt 16:25: “… whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” John 12:25: “…he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”