Capon, Robert Farrar. The Foolishness of Preaching: Proclaiming the Gospel against the Wisdom of the World. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1998. Chapter 6, “Antidotes” pp. 41-52.
Capon continues to build his case that Christian preaching is about death and that the only antidote to bad preaching is death, Christ’s death and resurrection. He visits a few Bible passages to illustrate the idea. In John 9, Jesus has healed a blind beggar. Jesus’ response is that the blindness and healing is to show God’s glory (Capon 1998, 41). God’s glory in this incident is shown as the formerly blind man grows in faith. The Pharisees make statements of knowledge but the other man says he believes Jesus (Capon 1998, 42). Capon observes that when the man is not in some sort of doubt, Jesus is away from him, but whenever he doubts, Jesus comes on the scene to help him (Capon 1998, 43).
Capon moves next to Acts chapter 9, where Jesus meets Saul on his way to Damascus (Capon 1998, 44). True to form, Capon sees Saul as the person who is religious but not faithful. The encounter with Jesus confronts Saul with what he may have reasonably seen as a punishment and a lifelong loss of his sight. Above all, Saul does not seem to know what he is going through (Capon 1998, 45). Capon takes this to mean that all God needs in preachers is that they realize their emptiness. “Unless we’re willing to be blind to the certainties of religion by which we’ve lived our lives, we’ll never be able to hear the Word of God, let alone preach it” (Capon 1998, 46). Capon here draws a sharp distinction between believing what we know from Scripture or doctrine and believing the person of Christ. I think here he goes much too far in rejecting the possibility that sound historic doctrine is of value to the Christian.
Capon suggests that we view all of Scripture as the place where water is found, giving life to the world. We are ready to receive water, but it s touchy as we normally can’t see the extent of the water supply (Capon 1998, 48). However, Christ, like an artesian well, comes springing up where he wills, and where we actually need him (Capon 1998, 50). In John chapter 4, Jesus promises a Samaritan woman a well of water that springs up to eternal life.
Capon continues to make a stark dichotomy between trusting Jesus and believing based on Scripture, doctrinal, or creedal statements. He may be doing so as a corrective against abuse he has seen in the Church. However, he unjustly casts out all previous experience of the Body of Christ, thus requiring the Christian to re-invent everything in each new generation.