Fortress Press

Where God Meets Man, 50th Anniversary Edition: Luther's Down-to-Earth Approach to the Gospel

Where God Meets Man, 50th Anniversary Edition

Luther's Down-to-Earth Approach to the Gospel

Gerhard O. Forde (Author), Bradley C. Jenson (Contributor)


This book about Luther's theology is written out of a twofold conviction: first, that many of our problems have arisen because we have not really understood our own traditions, especially in the case of Luther; and second, that there is still a lot of help for us in someone like Luther if we take the trouble to probe beneath the surface. In this ground-breaking book, Forde interprets Luther's theology for our own day.

The fundamental theme of the book is the "down-to-earth" character of Luther's theology. Through this theme, Forde points out that we have failed to understand the basic thrust of Luther's theology and that this failure has caused and still causes us grief. Modern scholarship has demonstrated that Luther did not actually share some of the views on the nature of faith and salvation that subsequent generations have foisted upon him and have used to interpret his thinking. This book attempts to bring the results of some of that scholarship to light and make it more accessible to those searching for answers today.

The central questions of Christianity are examined in this fresh restatement of Luther's thought: the relationship between God and humanity, the cross, the sacraments, this world and the next, and the role of the church. The author presents the "down-to-earth" character of Luther's theology in the hope that it will help individual Christians today to be both faithful to God and true to their human and social responsibilities.

This 50th Anniversary Edition includes a preface by Marianna Forde and a new study guide by Bradley C. Jenson, created to encourage new readings and conversations about Forde's influential take on Luther, theology, and the church.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506468655
  • eBook ISBN 9781506468662
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 175
  • Publication Date October 12, 2021


"Forde's Where God Meets Man introduced a generation of students to Martin Luther's radical idea that God in Jesus Christ invades our lives to kill us, raise us up, and put us squarely on earth. This 50th Anniversary Edition, complete with an engaging study guide by Bradley Jensen, continues to have an unsettling power to renew faith and life."

Mark Tranvik, professor of Reformation history and theology, Luther Seminary

"Forde's writings rest on the conviction that the Lutheran Reformation conveyed the quintessence of Christianity with a theological precision and pastoral relevance that are unique and lasting. This book addresses the question: What is it to be Lutheran? But really: What is it to be Christian?"

Dorothea Wendebourg, chair, modern church and Reformation history, Humboldt University, Berlin

"Why has this book remained in print for fifty years? Because it clearly outlines a Lutheran theological perspective that is both illuminating and penetrating. Once you have read this book, you will, like me, want to read it again and again."

Joseph Burgess, former executive director, Division of Theological Studies, Lutheran Council in the USA

Table of Contents


1. "Up the Down Staircase"

2. The "Down to Earth" God

3. The Glory Road or the Way of the Cross?

4. A Man for This Earth

5. Treasure in Earthen Vessels

6. This World and the Next

7. The Church and the Charter of Freedom

Study Guide