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The Cross Alone is Our Theology: Luthers Theology of the Cross as Pastoral Theology

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Title: The Cross Alone is Our Theology: Luthers Theology of the Cross as Pastoral Theology


1
The Cross Alone is Our Theology Luthers
Theology of the Cross as Pastoral Theology
  • Wyoming District Pastoral Conference
  • Casper, WY
  • 8-10 October 2007

2
Required Text
  • On Being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard
    Forde

3
Suggested Texts
  • The Captivation of the Will by Gerhard Forde
  • Living by Faith by Oswald Bayer

4
  • My work has only one purpose to keep you in
    the doctrine handed down previously. It is my
    desire to keep you in simplicity against the new
    teachers. Remain in simplicity and in the old
    doctrine you have received. Above all, beware of
    the boasting, of seeking glory. In the Holy
    Scriptures the desire to boast is a temptation of
    the devil. Therefore God has ordered things in
    such a way that the Word of the Gospel should be
    the Word the cross. It is His purpose to
    suppress that empty glory Luther (1527)
    Lecturers on I John, AE 30240-241

5
Crux Sola est Nostra Theologia
  • Obviously the theology of the cross does not
    mean that for a theologian the church year
    shrinks together into nothing but Good Friday.
    Rather it means that Christmas, Easter, and
    Pentecost cannot be understood without Good
    Friday. Next to Irenaeus and Athanasius, Luther
    was the greatest theologian of the incarnation.
    He was this because in the background of the
    manger he saw the cross. His understanding of the
    Easter victory was equal to that of any
    theologian of the Eastern Church. He understood
    it because he understood the victory of the
    Crucified One. The same can be said of his
    understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit
    (Sasse)

6
Two Competing Theologies
  • The theology of the cross stands in contrast to
    the prevailing theologies of Christendom,
    theologies of glory.
  • Hidden in the cross is the deepest essence of
    Gods revelation.
  • Only the theology of the cross is the preaching
    of the Gospel.

7
Characteristics of Theology of Glory
  • God is visible
  • Organ of apprehension is the eye (sight)
  • Acceptable to human reason
  • God works in power
  • Human will is free
  • Righteousness achieved by doing works of the law
  • It ends in either despair or arrogance

8
Characteristics of the Theology of the Cross
  • God is hidden
  • Ear is organ of apprehension (faith)
  • Offensive to human reason
  • God works in weakness
  • Human will is enslaved to sin
  • Righteousness is a gift received by faith
  • Humility that is confident in Christ

9
Why the Theology of the Cross?
10
  • The theology of the cross clarifies the fact that
    God is the subject not the object of theology
  • The theology of the cross guards against the
    slippage and erosion of theological language into
    sentimentality so that preaching and pastoral
    care are evangelically preserved
  • The theology of the cross protects the church
    from the temptation to mistake penultimate cures
    for ultimate redemption
  • The theology of the cross will not permit the
    preaching of the cross to become preaching about
    the cross

11
  • All that we think and do in the church has to be
    cleansed by the theology of the cross if we are
    to escape the perils of a theology of glory
    (Sasse)

12
Background
  • Luther prepared twenty-eight theological theses
    and twelve philosophical theses for debate at a
    meeting of the Augustinian chapter at Heidelberg
    on April 26, 1518
  • Theologically, the Heidelberg Theses are more
    significant than the Ninety-Five Theses of the
    previous year

13
The arrangement of the twenty-eight theological
theses is carefully and deliberately structured
in a movement from the law of God to the love of
God in Christ Jesus
  • Theses 1-12 contrasts the works of man with the
    works of God. All human possibilities for
    achieving salvation are shut down
  • Theses 13-18 tackles the anthropological basis of
    scholasticism the freedom of the will
  • Theses 19-24 establishes the distinction between
    the theologian of glory and the theologian of
    the cross
  • Theses 25-28 is the climax of Luthers argument
    faith in the work of Christ alone

14
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