Capon, Robert Farrar. The Foolishness of Preaching: Proclaiming the Gospel against the Wisdom of the World. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1998. Chapter 3 “Stumbling Blocks” pp. 14-19.
Capon considers hindrances to the raw preaching of the Gospel. It will cause what he refers to as “withdrawal symptoms” (Capon 1998, 14). These are daunting to preachers who have a need for acceptance. Therefore, the preachers who will succeed are those who trust in Jesus’ passion, not in anything else. Capon considers that the church puts stumbling blocks in front of preachers. First, counter to Jesus’ call to lose our lives for His sake, we fear failure (Capon 1998, 16). Our lives tend to run from success toward failure, eventually ending up in death. Our attempts at control and success ultimately attempt to overthrow God’s governance of life in this world. Capon takes an evolutionary approach to the world, while still asserting a time of innocence (Capon 1998, 18). His final assertion is that if fallen humans had control of the Tree of Life, all humanity would be doomed due to the evil now present in humans. God’s work as the arbiter of life and death makes him the one in control of salvation. Capon therefore says that salvation is accomplished through death, as Jesus allows our sin, which finally kills him (Capon 1998, 19). This refusal to trust in Jesus’ death is, according to Capon, the biggest impediment we have to effective Gospel preaching.