THEOLOGY OF THE CROSS
VS GOSPEL OF PROSPERITY
Overview

© 2011 Rev. Michael L Mueller, Odessa, TX
Luther‘s Theology of the Cross
• Bondage of the Will
• Effect on Sacraments
– Glory Just symbols
– Cross God in, with and
...
Theology of Glory
•
•
•
•
•

Lack Desire and Ability
Romans 9:16
Old Adam Tries Harder
Romans 7:7-9
Law Looks Possible
Rom...
―My work has only one purpose: to keep you
in the doctrine handed down previously. It is
my desire to keep you in simplici...
Crux Sola est Nostra Theologia
―Obviously the ‗theology of the cross‘ does not
mean that for a theologian the church year ...
Two Competing Theologies
• Theology of the Cross stands in
contrast to prevailing theologies of
Christendom (glory)
• Hidd...
#1 Defines Who God Is
• Paradigm for witness, friendship, and
support in the normal routines and
emergencies of life
• Pau...
#2 Defines Who We Are
• Know ourselves only when we
come to see that we are
sinners
• Justifiably forsaken by God
and utte...
#3 Way Back to Life
• Faith Alone!
• Reason, Senses, Emotions—
God under us
• God speaks life from the Cross
– Elicits and...
#4 Method that God Restores Life
• Through Baptism (Romans 6:3-5)
• Law pays us the full wages our
sinfulness has earned u...
#5 Live Our Lives Through Him
• Bear crosses for others—for the
sake of Christ (Matthew 16:24)
• Success not how many
bles...
God on a Cross
Instruments

Revealed Truth

• Crib

• God in human flesh

• Cross

• God suffers sin for us

• Crypt

• Go...
God on a Cross
Trinity

Revealed Truth

• Father

• God for us

• Son

• God with us

• Holy Spirit

• God in us

13
New Identity
• Most have Goal: Feel good about oneself
• Cross reveals why we seek but do not find
• Reveals our deeply br...
Right Way of Living
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Trust in God allows peace throughout life
In God‘s hands—Holy Sprit—not our own
The ‗...
From Death Comes Life
• For those in despair and apostasy:
Cross kills Old Adam, gives new life in Christ

• For those lon...
Characteristics of Theology of Glory
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

God is visible
Organ of apprehension is the eye (sight)
Acceptable to ...
Theology of the Cross—Characteristics
• God is hidden
• Ear is organ of apprehension
(faith)
• Offensive to human reason
•...
Why the Theology of the Cross?
• Clarifies God is subject not object of theology
• Guards against slipping into sentimenta...
―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 ...
Heidelberg Disputations
• Luther prepared twenty-eight
theological theses and twelve
philosophical theses for
debate at a ...
The arrangement of the twenty-eight theological theses
is carefully and deliberately structured in a movement
from the law...
The Work of the Cross
• “Because in Adam we mounted up toward equality

with God, He descended to be like us, to bring us
...
Law of God
Thesis 1: The law of God, the
most salutary doctrine of life,
cannot advance man on his
way to righteousness, b...
Some Texts You May Consider
•
•
•
•

Lutheranism 101
On Being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard Forde
The Captivation o...
Schedule
•
•
•
•

•
•

Two Natures of God
Biblical Basis
Pastoral Theology
Teaching
Our Vocation
End of Life

26
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02 theology of the cross: overview

  1. 1. THEOLOGY OF THE CROSS VS GOSPEL OF PROSPERITY Overview © 2011 Rev. Michael L Mueller, Odessa, TX
  2. 2. Luther‘s Theology of the Cross • Bondage of the Will • Effect on Sacraments – Glory Just symbols – Cross God in, with and under the elements • Basis for Reformation • Heidelberg Disputations • God For Us 2
  3. 3. Theology of Glory • • • • • Lack Desire and Ability Romans 9:16 Old Adam Tries Harder Romans 7:7-9 Law Looks Possible Romans 7:10 Life of Glory Romans 1:22-25 Parable of Pharisee & Publican in Temple Pharisee Publican God aren‘t you glad to see me! God, be merciful to me, a sinner (Luke18:9-14) 3
  4. 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 30:240-241 4
  5. 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) 5
  6. 6. Two Competing Theologies • Theology of the Cross stands in contrast to prevailing theologies of Christendom (glory) • Hidden in the Cross is the deepest essence of God‘s revelation • Only Theology of the Cross is preaching the Gospel • What is the Gospel? Literally, Jesus! 6
  7. 7. #1 Defines Who God Is • Paradigm for witness, friendship, and support in the normal routines and emergencies of life • Paul sketched the theology of the cross, in I Corinthians 2 & 3 • Not Hidden God—we shape for our purposes • But, One whose righteousness—whose right way of being God—is revealed in the sacrificial love of the blood-drenched cross • Reconciles by making peace through the blood of His very own cross (Colossians 1:19-20) 7
  8. 8. #2 Defines Who We Are • Know ourselves only when we come to see that we are sinners • Justifiably forsaken by God and utterly vulnerable to death • See our reflection in the image of a dying incarnate God (Mark 15:34) 8
  9. 9. #3 Way Back to Life • Faith Alone! • Reason, Senses, Emotions— God under us • God speaks life from the Cross – Elicits and creates faith – Destroys wisdom – Saves those given faith to believe • Jesus never around a dead person, who doesn‘t immediately spring to life! 9
  10. 10. #4 Method that God Restores Life • Through Baptism (Romans 6:3-5) • Law pays us the full wages our sinfulness has earned us (Romans 6:23a) • Baptism buries us as sinners in Christ's tomb (Romans 6:4a) • Then gives us life again as an absolutely free gift (Romans 6:4b, 23b) 10
  11. 11. #5 Live Our Lives Through Him • Bear crosses for others—for the sake of Christ (Matthew 16:24) • Success not how many blessings, nor how much suffering • Success is bringing the love of the Christ within us to those around us! 11
  12. 12. God on a Cross Instruments Revealed Truth • Crib • God in human flesh • Cross • God suffers sin for us • Crypt • God risen from the dead 12
  13. 13. God on a Cross Trinity Revealed Truth • Father • God for us • Son • God with us • Holy Spirit • God in us 13
  14. 14. New Identity • Most have Goal: Feel good about oneself • Cross reveals why we seek but do not find • Reveals our deeply broken humanity • Cannot do real good, sin always corrupts • Trust in Christ gives new identity – Adopted as sons – Changed from dead to alive in Christ – God‘s chosen before all time 14
  15. 15. Right Way of Living • • • • • • • • Trust in God allows peace throughout life In God‘s hands—Holy Sprit—not our own The ‗just‘ do live—in fact—by faith Can now desire to do righteous good Freed from the slavery of sin, death, devil Freed from condemnation of the Law Not temporal success or suffering Called to love God by loving our neighbor— Outcome is in God‘s hands 15
  16. 16. From Death Comes Life • For those in despair and apostasy: Cross kills Old Adam, gives new life in Christ • For those longing for security, safety, worth: Kills old life, gives hope, surety, value • The Cross points us to heaven—to our new citizenship—to our Father 16
  17. 17. 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 by doing works of the Law Ends in either despair or arrogance 17
  18. 18. Theology of the Cross—Characteristics • 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 given by God • Humility that is confident in Christ 18
  19. 19. Why the Theology of the Cross? • Clarifies God is subject not object of theology • Guards against slipping into sentimentality— preserves evangelistic preaching and pastoral care • Protects Church from the temptation to mistake temporal cures for ultimate redemption • Does not permit preaching of the Cross to become preaching about the cross 19
  20. 20. ―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) 20
  21. 21. Heidelberg Disputations • 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 21
  22. 22. 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 works of man with works of God: human salvation impossible • Theses 13-18 anthropological (man-centered) basis of scholasticism: freedom of the will • Theses 19-24 distinguishes “theologian of glory” from “theologian of the cross” • Theses 25-28 faith in the work of Christ alone 22
  23. 23. The Work of the Cross • “Because in Adam we mounted up toward equality with God, He descended to be like us, to bring us back to knowledge of Himself. That is the Sacrament of the Incarnation. That is the kingdom of faith in which the cross of Christ holds sway, which sets at naught the divinity for which we perversely strive and restores the despised weakness of the flesh which we have perversely abandoned.” [Luther’s Works on the Psalms] • Cross theology is necessarily a antidote against every kind of natural glory theology: it must leave 23 us to rely on grace alone!
  24. 24. Law of God Thesis 1: The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him Thesis 28: The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it The Disputation moves, in an ordered and deliberate fashion, from the law of God to the love of God, a way that passes directly through the cross Holy Merciful 24
  25. 25. Some Texts You May Consider • • • • Lutheranism 101 On Being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard Forde The Captivation of the Will by Gerhard Forde Living by Faith by Oswald Bayer 25
  26. 26. Schedule • • • • • • Two Natures of God Biblical Basis Pastoral Theology Teaching Our Vocation End of Life 26

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