Theology of the Cross: Subversive Theology for a Postmodern World?

June 1, 2011

An excellent article by Graham Tomlin of the St. Paul’s Theological Centre located at HTB, London:

“After Paul developed his theologia crucis in Corinth, the theme lay pretty well dormant for many years, at least in mainstream Western theology. Throughout the patristic and medieval periods, most theologians were wary of viewing the cross as directly revelatory of God and his ways. This was due partly to their reluctance to question the impassibility of God (too close an association between the cross and the being of God would seem to compromise this), and partly to the ‘two natures’ Christology which neatly enabled them to ascribe the suffering of Christ to the human rather than the divine nature. For example, although Tertullian was the first to coin the phrase ‘the crucified God’, this seems little more than a rhetorical flourish for him: he is not really interested in developing a theology from this point. Despite his great theology of atonement, Anselm fights shy of reading any implications for the doctrine of God from the cross. For Thomas Aquinas, the cross is a contingent, not a necessary, means of salvation. God could have chosen to save the world in another way, had he wished. So it is hard to see how the cross could have any great theological significance for him either.”

Read it all.

9 responses to Theology of the Cross: Subversive Theology for a Postmodern World?

  1. Thanks for posting, Steve. Luther’s theology of the cross probably had the biggest impact on me out of everything I studied during my theology degree. Don’t often hear it talked about it in your average Christian context.

  2. “Pascal’s world is not the neat Thomist world where God gives clear indications of his existence and nature, but the deeply ambiguous, fallen Augustinian world which speaks simultaneously of God’s presence and his absence.” – Theologia Crucis, truly the crux of history! Thanks!

  3. @Maria – spend more time at SAMP, you’ll quite quite a bit of Luther and Calvin (even if not by name).

  4. The subversive Calvinist! 😉

  5. Yeah, I find that when people hear the names that certain negative stereotypes emerge. But, when the ideas/theology are presented they are well received.

  6. Same here! I do internally & quietly cringe when I hear people speak of their free will as some understood, universal entitlement.

  7. I grew up on “Hier stehe Ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. Amen” and the rest of what brother Martin had to say about salvation. I guess that’s why I don’t find the arguments revolutionary. In his debates Luther frequently quoted Paul. At Worms he declined to recant unless the debater on the other side could convince him from Scripture he was wrong.

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