Forde, Gerhard O. The Preached God: Proclamation in Word and Sacrament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 12, “Fake Theology: Reflections on Antinomianism Past and Present” Loc. 2934-3089.
Forde observes that antinomianism, a denial of God’s law, seems the default reaction to legalism, absolutism, and other rigid norms (Forde 2007, Loc. 2938). He reflects that though Luther battled legalism he also battled antinomianism. In essence, antinomianism attempts to remove the law through denial or accommodation (Frode 2007, Loc. 2942). It “is a complex and interesting phenomenon theologically, because it is the attempt to correct one mistake by another” (Forde 2007, Loc. 2956). It ends the law, but by our decree rather than Jesus’ action.
To clarify the situation, Forde makes a distinction between “overt” and “covert” antinomianism. “Overt antinomianism simply asserts that since Christ is the end of the law, law is no longer of theological import and should be removed from the preaching of the church” (Forde 2007, Loc. 2968). At least this view generally directs people to the gospel. However, it often leaves faith out of the equation (Forde 2007, Loc. 2977). The result is that the eschatological hope is gone, replaced by a pre-emptive attempt to devise some other hope (Forde 2007, Loc. 3003). In covert antinomianism the law is changed in content or function (Forde 2007, Loc. 3011). This results from an underestimation of the gospel, in effect denying that the gospel is able to accomplish such a great salvation. It makes the law seem like gospel (Forde 2007, Loc. 3015).
Forde concludes that every form of antinomianism is destructive (Forde 2007, Loc. 3048). It rearranges the entire locus of our theology, drawing attention away from Jesus (Forde 2007, Loc. 3069). “[Here] we simply have to face the fact that there is no cure other than a more radical proclamation of Christ as the end of the law who because he is the end establishes the law prior to the end” (Forde 2007, Loc. 3083). Jesus alone is our answer.