First, that many of our problems have arisen because we have not really understood our own traditions, especially in the case of Luther; and second, that there is still a lot of help for us in someone like Luther if we take the trouble to probe beneath the surface. It is an attempt to interpret Luther's theology for our own day. The fundamental theme of the book is the "down-to-earth" character of Luther's theology. In using this theme, Forde points out that we have failed to understand the basic thrust or direction of Luther's theology and that this failure has caused and is still causing us grief. Modern scholarship has demonstrated that Luther simply did not share the views on the nature of faith and salvation that subsequent generations have foisted upon him and used to interpret his thinking. This book attempts to bring the results of some of that scholarship to light and make it more accessible to those who are searching for answers today.
The central questions of Christianity are examined in this fresh restatement of Luther's thought—the God-man relationship, the cross, the sacraments, this world and the next, and the role of the church. The author presents the "down-to-earth" character of Luther's theology in the hope that it will help individual Christians today to be both faithful to God and true to their human and social responsibilities.