Though a “Word and sacrament” ministry appears to be the main point of Jesus’ Great Commission, it does not appear to be the thing most churches are known for in our time. Why is it that contemporary churches often become so focused on growing their brand that they lose sight of their true mission and purpose? According to Kyle Strobel and Jamin Goggin, this is because many of today’s church leaders have succumbed to the temptations of worldly power. On this program, Michael Horton talks with the authors of The Way of the Dragon or The Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church That Has Abandoned It.
“In our calling to be fruitful for the kingdom of God, we must discern the way of God (Eph. 5:10), so we must be the kinds of people who discern this way (Heb. 5:11-14). The ‘from’ and ‘for’ of our power need to align with God and his way, regardless of how savvy, sophisticated, or skilled we are…Kyle Strobel and Jamin Goggin
“Our skill is the way we present ourselves to the Lord, and is the vehicle by which we abide in Christ and serve him… Power in weakness for love is power that bears fruit for the kingdom. Power in strength for control, even used for kingdom ends, will ultimately deceive us into thinking we’re living in the way of Jesus, when in fact we are living in the way from below.”
TERM TO LEARN
“Theology of the Cross vs. Theology of Glory”
This distinction can be seen as Martin Luther’s most profound contribution to theological thought. Standing in opposition to the theology of glory, the theology of the cross is best understood in concert with the “the hidden God” and the “the revealed God.”
Because of the Fall of man, the revealed God became the hidden God. The only way the shattered fellowship could be restored was by means of redemption. God’s consummate meeting place was unveiled at the cross of Christ. God is known and understood not in strength but in weakness, not in an awesome display of majesty and power but in the exhibition of a love willing to have the Son of God suffer. Unfortunately, modern man is determined to know God as the Revealed One. The heathen sees God’s power in the created cosmos but is led from one degree of idolatry to another.
The theology of glory is the antithesis of the theology of the cross. So strongly did Luther feel about the distinction between these theologies that he stated unequivocally that only those who hold to and teach the theology of the cross deserve to be called theologians.
The potential danger of a theology of glory is that it could lead to a form of moralistic works righteousness, a propensity to strike a bargain with God on the basis of personal achievement. The theology of the cross repudiates humanity’s own accomplishments and permits God to do everything to effect and preserve his salvation. Such theology redirects from moralistic activism to genuine receptivity.
(Adapted from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. “theologia crucis” and “theologia gloriae.”)