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On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology) Paperback – October, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Forde died this past fall after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's Disease. I was one of several hundred Lutheran pastors who had the privilege of studying under Dr. Forde at Luther Seminary, and from personal experience I can tell you that the rapier wit and laser-like focus of OBTC are a reflection of the man who wrote the words. For Christians, Forde always argued, seeking God away from the cross of Christ is dangerous because it is in the cross that God means to be found.
Dr. Forde's radical work challenges us all in our addiction to salvation through good works, a false hope if ever there was one. With brilliant clarity Forde makes the case that Luther made so radically in his own day: that the cross alone saves, and it saves us as much from our ambitions as it does our sin.
On initial perusal of the Heidleberg disputation, one may not be familiar with the issues that Luther wished to address at the time. Known perhaps more popularly for his 99 theses, this disputation is more clear example of Luther's thoughts on what being a "theologian of the cross" really means. Forde challenges anyone to, with Luther, be very careful in acting more like a "theologian of glory", as Luther put it, than a theologian of the cross. The latter instance is more difficult, for it means believing in a God that underatnd suffering, a God that is scandalous in his desire to be known as a god who is known for showing power in extreme weakness, in a human that hangs from a cross.
On the other hand, Forde is careful not to let Luther's disputation put forth a view that theology is about a "suffering" God per se, but that we do not know God through lofty ideas such as "omnipotence" and "glory". Forde, using Luther, brings balance to the concept of grace, sin and suffering.
This book is a must for those interested in issues durrounding the Reformation and Luther's theology of grace.
My dog-eared copy of this book got that way through reading it during my daily commutes on the train through Heidelberg, Germany, where Luther delivered his Disputation in front of his Augustinian Order. As an Army Chaplain, and familiar with much suffering, I've found deep solace in knowing that suffering is God's "alien" work in me. He humbles me and brings me to the cross, the place of Christ's suffering, where I can do nothing but throw myself on His mercy. The Cross changes EVERYTHING, and this book has thrown that truth into sharp focus, both theologically and practically, in my living and my preaching.
Through suffering God creates us for His love. "God simply refuses to be known in any other way." The cross alone is our theology, and this book has been indispensable, to me, in coming to that conviction.
Chaplain Mark Nordstrom, US Army
Yes, this book is small--yet what a book it is! In this book Forde covers the 28 theses Luther wrote on this topic, with the first, which presents God's damning Law, to the last, which shines forth the very love of God. Thus, as the reader travels through the book he is faced with God's Law and Gospel. In thesis 21, Forde even corrects a mistranslation in the American Edition of Luther's Works: Luther did not mean the "theology of glory" but being a "theologian of the cross." Forde shows that Luther was not only referring to doctrine, but its application!
The theology of the cross is the true Gospel of God's salvation of dead sinners out of His grace through the suffering and death of the cross of Jesus Christ alone; we call this divine monergism, because salvation is God's doing throughout. The theology of the cross rules out and curses all human worth, especially the best we have to offer. For the best we have to offer are the very things on which we are tempted to rely. In extreme contrast is the theology of glory, which is the corruption of the Gospel because it states a waiting God comes to bless a person who contributes some 'little bit,' to his salvation. The cross' exposure of man as completely helpless in his own salvation may offend the theologians of glory. Yet if a person can cooperate in his salvation, decide for God, make a decision for Christ, then the theology of man, that is, of glory pits itself against the theology of grace.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We Americans love a can-do attitude. Roll up the shirt-sleeves and git 'er done. And that has affected our religious beliefs. Read morePublished 17 days ago by SKClimacus
I read this book many years ago ... it is a clear presentation of a work by Luther that articulates the heart, the soul of Lutheran theology. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Most highlighted book on my shelf. I loved every page. I learned on every page. This is one of the most important books I have read. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Yak Man 04
SO much in this book worth digesting! Best rendition and explanation of the topic I have read thus far!Published 15 months ago by Steve
Great for any individual or group who want to step away from the overly theologized treatises on Luther's theologian of the cross and investigate living out and practicing the ways... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Caedmon