Descending on Humanity and Intervening in History

Descending on Humanity and Intervening in History: Notes from the Pulpit Ministry of P. T. Forsyth. Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2013.


This collection of forty-eight sermons, most of which have not been previously published, discloses the integration of vocation and imagination in the work of one of the greatest of Free Church theologians, P. T. Forsyth. At a time of fragmentation, when theological study has become too much removed from the task of the preacher, Forsyth’s work can remind us of the invigorating power of Christian doctrine interpreted and expounded in situations of pastoral and political exigency. Its capacity for the renewal of the church is evident again from this rich and timely anthology, compiled and introduced by Jason Goroncy.

Table of Contents

I. Preaching sub specie crucis

II. Published Sermons

The Turkish Atrocities, 1876

Mercy the True and Only Justice, 1877

The Strength of Weakness, 1878

The Bible Doctrine of Hell and the Unseen, 1879

Egypt: A Sermon for Young Men, 1882

Pessimism, 1884

The Argument for Immortality Drawn from the Nature of Love: A Lecture on Lord Tennyson’s “Vastness,” 1885

The Pulpit and the Age, 1885

Sunday-Schools and Modern Theology, 1887

Preaching and Poetry, 1890

Mystics and Saints, 1894

The Way of Life, 1897

The Empire for Christ, 1900

The Slowness of God, 1900

An Allegory of the Resurrection, 1902

Dumb Creatures and Christmas: A Little Sermon to Little Folk, 1903

The Problem of Forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer, 1903

Christ at the Gate, 1908

Christ Our Sanctification, 1911

Things New and Old, 1913

Music and Worship, 1914

Our Experience of a Triune God, 1914

The Meaning of a Sinless Christ, 1923

Sources for Published Sermons

III. Unpublished Sermons

On Philippians 4:4

On Matthew 7:21

On Hebrews 11:17–19

On 1 Peter 4:19

On Psalm 55:6 and Jeremiah 9:2

On Luke 11:9

On Psalm 130:1

On 1 Timothy 4:7

On 2 Corinthians 4:17–18

On Luke 17:10

On Acts 22:11

On 2 Timothy 4:7

On Psalm 32:8

On 1 Timothy 3:15

On Psalm 146:3

On Ecclesiasticus 2:18

On Romans 8:28

On Philippians 3:12


‘Far from being a collection of cozy meditations, here are challenging, biblically rooted, theologically powerful, pastorally concerned essays and sermon notes by Britain’s most stimulating theologian of the twentieth century. Church members will be energized; preachers will be prompted towards relevant exposition. This book is the product of much persistent burrowing by Jason Goroncy, whose substantial introduction is an exemplary piece of scholarship in its own right. We are greatly indebted to him’. – Alan P. F. Sell, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

‘Few modern theologians have displayed the combination of intellectual energy, rhetorical power, and pastoral commitment of P. T. Forsyth. In this valuable collection of Forsyth’s sermons, many of them hitherto unpublished, we encounter a conviction too often absent in church and academy alike – that theology and preaching belong vitally together. In these striking examples of that vision, contemporary readers will find much to learn, challenge, and inspire. – Ivor J. Davidson, University of St Andrews