Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross In Protestantism, there are two distinct guiding philosophies that are normally used as the foundation for the teaching and worship of the church. These philosophies are the theology of glory and the theology of the cross. Which philosophy a church practices is up to the individual church; however, it is rare, possibly even unheard of, for both philosophies to be utilized together in the same church. The theology of glory and the theology of the cross are both so very different from one another, that to mix them would be a challenging enterprise. The theology of the cross was formulated by the founder of the Protestant churches, Martin Luther, and continues to have an impact on theology and on churches today, nearly five hundred years after its creation. This paper examines Martin Luther’s theology of the cross, compares it with the theology of glory, and discusses how the theology of the cross continues to have an impact on churches today. To Martin Luther, Jesus Christ is the only moderator between God and humans.1 Through his death, he effects a reconciliation between God and man. Christ, through his death, has removed God’s wrath from humankind. Martin Luther created his theology of the cross as a distinct opposite of the theology of glory that the Catholic church accepted at the time. While the theology of glory seeks to know God directly in His divine power and glory, the theology of the cross seeks out God in His sufferings. The theology of the
“Augustana,” The Luther Project, n.d. .
2 cross views humans as being called to suffer for their sins, and to rely on the redemptive power of Jesus Christ to save them. The theology of the cross is meant to destroy the self-confidence of humans so that they will allow God to do everything for them. Therefore, the theology of the cross leads a
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