Thursday, May 22, 2008

Theology of Glory

A theology of glory sounds like a good thing; it isn't, at least not in the sense that Luther talked about it. The theology of glory is opposed to the theology of cross. The theology of glory is essentially theology exactly the way any human being would naturally write it. It has a high view of humanity and human capacities to reason and to know God. It imagines that God would act as a human being would, and therefore tries to side-step the shame and stigma of the cross - after all, why would the ultimately powerful God serve and suffer? No human being would. And the theology of glory has a high view of morality, being committed to the idea that human beings can improve themselves (although perhaps only with God's help). When it comes to the church, the theologian of glory dislikes the shame of the foolish and weak congregation, and argues for powerful hierarchies and the right of the church to impose its edicts on society at large. Perhaps in these more modest days, the theologian of glory will simply demand that the voice of the church be listened to on an equal footing with all the other pressure groups in society.

The problem is, the theology of glory makes sense to us. The other problem is that is has no place for Christ and him crucified.

Satan is the ultimate theologian of glory. He is continually tempting us to take this view of things, just as he tempted Christ. I am beginning to learn to read the account of Christ's temptation as an antidote to this type of thinking.

Whenever I start to think the Christian life should be easier than this - where are all the blessings?, it's as if I hear Satan say command these stones to become bread.

Whenever I start to think if only the church looked more impressive, or the CU could put on more spectacular events, it's as if I hear the voice of Satan: throw yourself down from the temple - surely an angelic rescue will impress the watching crowds!

And whenever I feel dismayed at the lack of influence the church has in society and think where is the rule of Christ in all this?, I hear the tempter whisper All these I will give you, if you bow down and worship me.

But Christ is not a theologian of glory. He will take the shameful, sorrowful path to Calvary instead. Will I take up my cross and follow?

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