Augsburg Fortress

The Word Militant: Preaching a Decentering Word

The Word Militant: Preaching a Decentering Word

Against the easy assurance of a too-enculturated religion, Walter Brueggemann refocuses the preaching task around the decentering, destabilizing, always risky Word that confronts us in Scripture - if we have the courage to hear. These powerful essays, previously available only in journals, are here combined with a newly composed preface and introduction. Includes a foreword from the Reverend William H. Willimon.


  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800697655
  • eBook ISBN 9781451419771
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date October 1, 2010


"Preaching is an audacious task. It has always been so." So Walter Brueggemann begins this bold set of reflections on the preaching task, a task at once foolish and dangerous in a world where the rulers of this age keep a close eye on any proclamation that may disturb present arrangements. His tone in turn is passionate, intimate, critical, and wise. Brueggemann's perspective on preaching is always shaped first and foremost by the militant word of Scripture, especially as spoken through the prophets. Brueggemann understands the biblical texts to redescribe the world as God's world. It follows that when preaching is truly biblical, it will be subversive preaching. Brueggemann is unsparing in his critique of the sort of preaching that is but an echo of prevailing culture, content to live within the limits of the status quo. Yet he is also endlessly hopeful that the church may remain a place–perhaps "the last place in town"–where a different understanding of reality can still find a voice.

"Brueggemann provokes an emergency and shames an accommodated, culture–bound, tamed, therapeutic church with his fecund, prophetic re-descriptions and creative transpositions that speak the biblical word into our time and place. Unintimidated by the disestablishment of the American Protestant church, he always hears something for us to say that the world is literally dying to hear. He thus gives testimony to a ceaselessly interesting God who speaks, reveals, and discloses, a God who is accurately known only through God's Word, and only through a gaggle of Spirit–filled, evangelical preachers whom the Word has made militant."
From the Foreword by William H. Willimon