If you think the cross is only for the salvation of those with skid row type sin, think again. In fact, as we hear below, the cross attacks the very best of our religion! Here are two more stellar, polemical quotes from one of our fave Lutheran theologians, the late Gerhard Forde. Both of these come from his On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518, pages 4 & 9, respectively. Happy Forde Friday!
“The cross is itself in the first instance the attack of God on the old sinner and the sinner’s theology. The cross is the doing of God to us. But that same cross itself, and only the cross, at the same time opens a new and unheard-of possibility over against the sinner’s old self and its theology. That means that a theology of the cross is inevitably quite polemical. It constantly seeks to uncover and expose the ways in which sinners hide their perfidy behind pious facades. The delicate thing about it is that it attacks the best we have to offer, not the worst. This explains why the theology of the cross is generally spoken of in contrast to a theology of glory. The two theologies are always locked in mortal combat. Wherever there is mention of a theology of the cross without indication of this combat, it is not truly the theology of the cross that is being expressed.”
“Thus the cross story claims us. And we should make no mistake. Unless the cross story does claim us and become our story, we shall not escape the clutches of the glory story. It is not a matter of choice, a matter over which we deliberate. One of the decisive questions in the battle between a theology of glory and theology of the cross will always be the question of the will. A theology of glory always leaves the will in control. It must therefore seek to make its theology attractive to the supposed “free will.” A theology of the cross assumes that the will is bound and must be set free. The cross story does that. Either it claims us or it doesn’t If it does, it is the end of the glory story. We see in the death of Jesus our death, and we remember that we are dust. We can begin to take the truth. We learn dying… We live only on the strength of the fact that the Creator breathed his Spirit into the dust and gave us life. We live on ‘borrowed time’ –time lent us by the Creator.”