On Being A Theologian Of The Cross / Edition 1

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While there is increasing interest in the "theology of the cross," few people have specific knowledge of what makes it different from other kinds of theology. In On Being a Theologian of the Cross, Gerhard O. Forde provides an introduction to this theological perspective through an analysis of Luther's Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, the classic text of the theology of the cross.

The book first clarifies the difference between a theology of glory and a theology of the cross and explains how each perspective shapes the very nature of being a theologian. The main body of the book provides commentary on the Heidelberg Disputation-the only complete analysis of this document currently available.

Underlying Forde's exposition is the contention that one ought not to speak of the theology of the cross merely as another item among a host of theological options; instead, one must pursue what it means to be a theologian of the cross and to look at all things through suffering and the cross.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Among contemporary English language writers, few have communicated the central insights of the young Luther's theology with greater ease and clarity than Luther Seminary's Gerhard Forde.... Forde brings his intimate familiarity with the young Martin Luther to bear not on the question of the theology of the cross per se, but on the problem of being, as he puts it, a theologian of the cross.... Forde skillfully unfolds the compact and sometimes hyperbolic language of Luther's theses with an expert's surefooted sense for the terrain. The style throughout is clear and accessible, a fact which makes the book both a logical choice for seminary students and an edifying read for the pastor or educated lay person.... Forde's compact and accessible contribution is a welcome addition to the fold.
Lutheran Quarterly
Forde does not just write about a theology of the cross; he demonstrates what a theologian of the cross is through his very way of writing. It is a small book and easy to read, and yet it is a great and weighty tome. It is also a most demanding or even scandalous book. Indeed, Forde does answer the question: what is the theology of the cross?
Word & World
"Vintage Fordeā€”a straight out, "tell it the way it is" presentation of sin and grace, life and faith, Christ and salvation....Here is a book worth working through and thinking through for any theologian. It would be particularly helpful as a small group study for "theologians.""
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802843456
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Series: Theology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 515,959
  • Product dimensions: 0.32 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introductory Matters

Two Stories: The Glory Story and the Cross Story
Two Ways of Being a Theologian

The Heidelberg Disputation

I. The Problem of Good Works (Theses 1-12)
II. The Problem of Will (Theses 13-18)
III. The Great Divide: The Way of Glory versus the Way of the Cross (Theses 19-24)
IV. God's Work in Us: The Righteousness of Faith (Theses 25-28)

Index of Names and Subjects
Index of Scripture References

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2001

    Let Us Glory in the Cross

    Gerhard O. Forde opens the heart of Luther¿s theology in this little book of his: Luther's beliefs on sin, the bondage of the human will, the inability of the unsaved person outside Christ to do a ¿good¿ work in God¿s eyes, and salvation by grace alone in the cross of Christ. 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. If this is a bit abrasive to you in verbiage, you will still find the book to be a splendid read. For this review can hardly do justice to Luther, and yes Forde, who put such theology in such a small amount of print. When you finish this book, you will be yearning its absence immediately, wishing you had savored the pearls of wisdom dripping from its pages.

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