The Essential Forde includes four chapters of Forde’s doctoral dissertation, The Law-Gospel Debate. While there is nothing wrong with presenting his work on the history of the law-gospel debate in the nineteenth century, Forde’s dissertation is about the theology of others, not his own theology. Moreover, dissertations are written for specialists, hardly the kind of material suited “to introduce Forde to a new generation of pastors, theologians, and church leaders who do not know him directly,” as Steven Paulson writes of the editors’ purpose.
In 1971 Gerhard Forde shifted from teaching in the Church History department to Systematic Theology. He said this shift did not make any major transition in his thinking or teaching, adding: “It did mean, however, that I have always taught systematics from a historical base – as it ought to be taught!”
The Essential Forde is a collection without context. The book includes four chapters from Forde’s thesis, The Law-Gospel Debate, and other articles or selections from his writings. But no context is given for any item. Not even bibliographical information. We give you the context in the real Forde–