Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crux Sola Est Nostra Theologia

--The cross alone is our theology.

Quoting from Dr. Steven Hein's paper "Tentatio":

...Luther called this helplessness and hopelessness, Anfechtung. Anfechtung is a profound anguish. It is an assault upon us by the world, the flesh and the Devil that can often reduce us to a state of doubt about who and what we are in Christ. It tempts us to despair of God's promises, it challenges our confidence and it puts our faith to the test.

Yet as Luther also recognized, this is a holy Anfechtung, an instrument of the gracious God, and part and parcel of living in the cross of Christ. God is the one behind our Anfechtung and he uses it to crucify our fleshly complacency and self-confidence. And then he uses it to send us running back the other way to the security and confidence of the Word of promise that is given to faith. From faith, we see the righteousness of Christ that is ours; and from faith, hope is renewed in the coming glory of the Kingdom. With faith's vision made ever new in the Gospel promise - again and again - faith is strengthened, the New Creation is renewed and the call of the Christian's vocation is revitalized. Here is the central heartbeat of Christian living. The experience of life in the old world that produces a holy anguish from the Devil's tentatio [tribulation and suffering], and the transforming power of faith fed by the Gospel. In tension - tacking back and forth between them -Luther believed this to be a common inheritance for all Christians baptized into the cross of Christ.
Hein, Steven A., "Tentatio," Lutheran Theological Review, 10 (1997-98), 29-47.

Hein, Steven A., “Tentatio,” Logia (Eastertide, 2001), 33-41.

photo credit: Glen's Pics 2

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