Fortress Press

Luther's Outlaw God Volume 3: Sacraments and God's Attack on the Promise

Luther's Outlaw God Volume 3

Sacraments and God's Attack on the Promise

Steven D. Paulson (Author)


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In this third of three volumes addressing Luther's outlaw God, Steven D. Paulson says that readers will embark on the deepest, hardest, and most glorious of all God's ways of hiding: God hiding a third time in the preached word or sacraments. The third time is the charm, not because humans finally awaken and "get" the essence of God. God's preached word is not an act of human understanding. It is a purely passive experience of receiving God wholly and completely in the absolving word that comes through the lowliest means of a sinful preacher. Not only does this word come through a creature to a creature, but through a sinner to a sinner.

The difficulty with grasping all of this is that God works entirely outside his divine law--an outlaw God. Luther is the one who saw this more clearly than any other, because it happened to him just this way. The preacher got a preacher, and the sacraments that had once been organized by a legal scheme were set free to reveal and bestow God in the most hidden place of all. How much more hidden could God be than in water, bread, wine, and the mouth of a preacher?

Paulson's grasp of historical, theological, and hermeneutical scholarship is on full display in this volume, but always in service of proclamation of the gospel. Readers and proclaimers: prepare to be provoked, enlightened, and inspired.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506469249
  • eBook ISBN 9781506469256
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 444
  • Publication Date February 16, 2021


"In this final volume of his trilogy on divine hiddenness, Paulson proclaims the good news of God revealed in the incarnate, preached, sacramental Word, Jesus Christ, as the only antidote to God's hiddenness, evil, and suffering. Paulson unambiguously argues that the believer must recognize the reality of the incomprehensibility and wrath of the hidden God, but more heartily still cling to and confess the crucified and risen God in Christ who comes to us through the preaching of the gospel."

Joshua C. Miller, author of Hanging by a Promise: The Hidden God in the Theology of Oswald Bayer

Table of Contents

1 God, Silent and in Words
2 Graspable God
3 Dangerous Luther: God Opposes God
4 Masks and Christ
5 God Hiding in a Sermon
6 The Only Cure
7 Abraham's Truly Patriarchal Trial:  God's Own Contradiction
8 The Three Lights: Nature, Glory, and Grace
9 Trinity and Suffering
10 A Most Beautiful Absolution
     Author and Subject Index
     Scripture Index