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On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology)

On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology) [Kindle Edition]

Mr. Gerhard O. Forde
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1490 KB
  • Print Length: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (1 Aug 1997)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001S2QQ20
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #431,365 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING ! LUTHER'S THEOLOGY ALIVE! 13 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If I were to be cast up alone on a desert island, and allowed one book in addition to the Bible, I would choose this one.

Herein Luther's vital discovery of the Biblical doctrine of Justification by Faith ALONE is so clearly articulated via the author's commentary on Luther's 1518 Heidelberg Theses, where the Reformer defended his position before a gathering of monks.

The book is clearly written and easily readable. It surprises the reader in that it exposes the masses of "cobwebs" and "dust", so to speak, that have accumulated over and around this central rallying point of the Reformation during the last couple of hundred years or so. Most vitally it speaks directly to the reader concerning HOW he or she DOES THEOLOGY ! Too often, indeed, by nature universally, our human nature interferes with our absorption of Biblical Truth, and distorts it into what the author of this book rightly calls "the Theology of Glory". The corrective is the pure "Theology of the Cross".

Not only is this book a vital corrective, it is a veritable comfort to all God's people who experience the doubts, and difficulties intrinsic to maintaining a lively Christian faith in this modern age.

Gerhard Forde"s book ought to be compulsory reading for anyone before they take office in any church.
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If a reflection on each of the 28 theses of Luther's Heidelberg disputation of 1518 doesn't sound like your idea of fun, think again. This book may just change your life. That's a cliche, and an overused one at that, I know. But in this case it is true.

In the Heidelberg theses, Luther demonstrates two things (and I'm doing to do both Luther and Forde an injustice by attempting a summary). Firstly, that before the cross of Christ we all stand utterly empty-handed, naked, and mute. Secondly, that our every inclination militates against that fact, regardless of what we profess to believe. We all prefer to be theologians of glory rather than theologians of the cross.

While Luther developed his theology of the cross in reaction to the schoolmen, this is not a dry scholastic argument but a profound wrestling with the human condition and the things of God. Forde is absolutely masterly in reflecting on Luther's words and bringing out their depth and relevance.

This book is not light reading, but still accessible to every serious-minded Christian. Personally, I tend to read it every year, one thesis a day, during Lent.
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By A Customer
This book explores the question of "by what means doth man acquire the righteousness to stand before God?" It explains the primacy of sanctification by grace.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cross alone is our theology 22 Jun 2000
By Scott Johnson - Published on
Amazing - five years after beginning seminary and after two years of ordained ministry, I still believe that all Christians should read ON BEING A THEOLOGIAN OF THE CROSS. This book was life-changing for me during a stormy first year of seminary; I still read it annually and find myself challenged and comforted by Dr. Forde's utter trust in the cross of Christ as proof that God will have mercy on sinners, even if it kills Him (and then the cross begins its work on us).

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.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Theologian of Glory Exposed. 13 Mar 2000
By A Customer - Published on
In this gem, O Forde first gives some historical background to Luther's Heidelberg Disputation (nothing to do with the Heidelberg Catechism). Then he proceeds to compare throughout the book the Thologian of Glory with the Theologian of the Cross using the 25 thesis's of the Disputation. All along as it develops through sin, law, good works to the cross he hems in and leaves no escape for the 'theologian of glory' except death to self and faith in Christ for obtaining righteousness before God. Masterfully done. Chock full of Luther quotes/references.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the title scare you! 11 Aug 2002
By Robert Knetsch - Published on
For those who love theology as I do, this is a masterpiece of theological analysis that goes intot great detail into one of Luther's great treatises.

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.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Love of God . . . Creates 15 Mar 2007
By Mark B. Nordstrom - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Love of God does not first discover but creates what is pleasing to it." Thesis 28.

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
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reality of Who We are In or Out of Christ 2 Oct 2004
By C. Stephans - Published on
Forde offers readers a remarkable perspective on living the Christian life in true devotion to Christ versus living for self glory. This is by all means not just a book for theologians and scholars. This book speaks to any person earnest about worshipping Jesus in Spirit and in Truth.

The content of this book is an antidote to the self-glorifying message shared by many Christian leaders today. Forde pulls no punches in interpreting and explaining Luther's right-on analysis of Biblical truths.

The end result of the book is self-examination and reformation before the cross of Christ, the power and wisdom of God. This books message is one of true liberation from self-righteousness and legalism; this message brings freedom and life.

Read this book and become crucified with Christ that you might also be raised in him.
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Popular Highlights

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So theologians of the cross know that we can't be helped by optimistic appeals to glory, strength, wisdom, positive thinking, and so forth because those things are themselves the problem. &quote;
Highlighted by 27 Kindle users
Unless the cross story does claim us and become our story, we shall not escape the clutches of the glory story. &quote;
Highlighted by 26 Kindle users
But the hallmark of a theology of glory is that it will always consider grace as something of a supplement to whatever is left of human will and power. It will always, in the end, hold out for some free will. Theology then becomes the business of making theological explanations attractive to the will. &quote;
Highlighted by 23 Kindle users

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