Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Luther's Theology of the Cross (theologia cruces)

From this source:

Walther von Loewenich described the centrality of the theology of the cross in Luther’s thinking:

For Luther the cross is not only the subject of theology; it is the distinctive mark of all theology. It has its place not only in the doctrine of the vicarious atonement, but it constitutes an integrating element for all Christian knowledge. The theology of the cross is not a chapter in theology but a specific kind of theology. The cross of Christ is significant here not only for the question concerning redemption and the certainty of salvation, but it is the center that provides perspective for all theological statements. Hence, it belongs to the doctrine of God in the same way as it belongs to the doctrine of the work of Christ. [Luther’s Theology of the Cross, pp 17-18]

Loewenich outlined five aspects of Luther’s theology of the cross:

  1. The theology of the cross as a theology of revelation stands in sharp antithesis to speculation.
  2. God’s revelation is an indirect, concealed revelation.
  3. Hence, God’s revelation is recognized not in works but in suffering, and the double meaning of these terms is to be noted.
  4. This knowledge of God who is hidden in his revelation is a matter of faith.
  5. The manner in which God is known is reflected in the practical thought of suffering. [p. 22]