Mark Shaw on Luther’s Cross-Theology

I recently came across Mark Shaw’s 10 Great Ideas from Church History which highlights key ideas from important theologians including Calvin, Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, Wesley, Wilberforce, and Bonhoeffer, among others. Luther heads off the group and I was particularly impressed with how cogently Shaw explains his theology of the cross. Here are two helpful tidbits.

In all God’s other works, such as creation and providence, God shows himself as infinitely powerful. But in the cross he shows himself as apparently weak, thereupon contradicting our entire theology [of glory] (33)

The doctrine of creation reveals God’s power to make things. The doctrine of eschatology reveals God’s power to judge and transform. But the cross shows us something deeper about the way God reveals truth about himself. The work of the cross shows God’s indirect way of working. God, at his heart, shows his power best through apparent weakness. The fullness of his deity was displayed paradoxically…in the frailty of Christ’s incarnation [see Colossians 1:19]. God is revealed best where he is hidden most…The cross is a hermeneutical key that unlocks new dimensions and correct understanding in every area of theology. (p. 33)


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