Heiko Oberman on Reformed preaching


‘The sermon does not have to try desperately to be actual because it has the highest possible actuality … The sermon is … apocalyptic in the sense that, far from merely referring to the final evaluation of our records, it reveals to us now in time and space the final will of God for the individual Christian: it is God’s last word, to which no syllable will be added. For this reason the Reformation could preach the certitudo salutis, the certainty of salvation, because he who will judge us is the same who fulfilled the law. In the words of Calvin: ‘When a Christian looks into himself he finds cause to be afraid or even to despair … [But] he will win a sure hope of eternal perseverance when he considers that he belongs to Him who cannot fall or fail’. It gives pause to realize that this message which proved to lend the Reformation movement its reconciling and liberating power has virtually disappeared from the Protestant pulpit’. – Heiko A. Oberman, ‘Preaching and the Word in the Reformation’, Theology Today 18, no. 1 (1961), 19.


  1. Michael, Oberman published some significant work on Luther, and taught in the areas of Late Medieval and Reformation studies. As far as I am aware, he was an ordained minister of the Netherlands Reformed Church until his death, at which point he became a Presbyterian! ;-)


Comments welcome here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.