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Moltmann’s POW experience cannot be overstated in importance and inception for his theology. He found God in the camps, or rather God found him in his own suffering. Since then, Moltmann has been obsessed — possessed? — by Jesus’ cry of dereliction (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). What does this mean for christology, theology, anthropology, ecclesiology, and ethics? In short, Jesus, as true God, died; death was taken into God. The cross was God abandoning God, God against God. In other words, God has chosen to be the God for the godforsaken by being godforsakened — the truest and deepest level of solidarity.
Moltmann is, in a word, prolific; he is the most productive liberation theology. People of all stripes would do well to read him, particularly theologians who disagree with him. Read him to, at the very least, feel his suffused compassion for the poor, vulnerable, disenfranchised, and oppressed.
Many theologians and radio pastors today are like Job's friends, offering us sound proof answers and strict doctrines all the while ignoring man's plight and state of suffering. Jesus calls us to serve man, not weigh him down with guilt, shame, and heavy burdens(Matt 23:4). If God tries to reach us through His power and glory, the end result will produce little gods who want all things "in Jesus' name". Yet it is through the Cross and it's suffering in which God reaches out to man.
This ought to produce a humble servant church, not the mega church brand we see today in America. The church we see and one that I am apart of, preaches to the choir and fails to get the message out to the hurting in a real way. The thought that God was on the cross in christ to liberate and reconcile man should snap us out of our homophobic, judgmental ways. Moltmann's theology forces us to stand under the cross, not above it and using it as a weapon to beat over the heads of unbelieving people. It is not our job to judge the muslim and debate with the atheist. We are liberated to suffer with and for man even if it means being persecuted.
Moltmann quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer from one of his letters from a Nazi concentration camp "God lets himself be pushed out of the world onto the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us and helps us. Christ helps us, not by the virtue of his omnipotence, but by virtue of his weakness and suffering. .....Only the suffering God can help.... That is a reversal of what the religious man expects from God. Man is summoned to share in God's sufferings at the hands of a godless world." Pg 47. Moltmanns theology argues for a true socialist state, not one enforced by government or a dictator, but the one formed by liberated man which finds meaning in God. This is the natural procession produced by the God willing to suffer on the Cross for and with man.
In this book, he shows that on the cross of Jesus, God is most fully revealed to mankind. Today, we call this "cruciform theology" and Moltmann was a pioneer of this way of thinking about God.
Reading this book is an act of discipline, or scholastic investigation, and most importantly, an act of worship of the crucified Christ. If you can wade through the tough parts, you will come out the other side with a better understanding of the God revealed in Jesus Christ on the cross.
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When I read some theologians, I feel like they're stumbling in the dark. They're not asking the tough questions.Read more