Professor Hall separates the ‘theology of the cross’ from the ‘theology of glory’. Quoting Martin Luther; “A theology of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.” (p. 16) Hall pulls apart what I’m not certain that Luther seperates and sure that Holy Scripture doesn’t separate. Paul did not separate the two; “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10) And; “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:16,17)

Hall defines ‘theology of glory’ as ‘triumphalism’; “Triumphalism refers to the tendency in all strongly held world views, whether religious or secular, to present themselves as full and complete accounts of reality, leaving little or any room for debate or differences of opinion and expecting of their adherents unflinching belief and loyalty.” (p. 17) Praise the Lord. The Bible tells us we have victory in Jesus; “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56,57)

The Bible tells us plainly that Jesus is victory and glory and triumphant all wrapped up into one; “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) To a Christian this is a good thing. To Professor Hall this is a bad thing. So bad in fact that an antidote is needed; “The only antidote to religious triumphalism is the readiness of communities of faith to permit doubt and self-criticism to play a vital role in the life of faith.” (p. 18)

‘To permit doubt … to play a vital role in the life of faith’ – what does that mean? Professor Halls ‘antidote’ will kill faith as defined by God’s Word; “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:1,2,3) The Bible tells us that the journey of faith is a hard one but worthwhile; “They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:37-40)

God wants our ‘perfection’ through Jesus even though the way is hard and always involves giving up your self – something a friend would never ask. Professor Hall seems to know better than the Bible; “The theologia gloria confuses and distorts because it presents divine revelation in a straightforward, undialectical, and authoritarian manner . . . . It overwhelms the human with its brilliance, its incontestability, its certitude. Yet just in this it confuses and distorts, because God’s object in the divine self-manisfestation is precisely not to overwhelm but to befriend.” (p. 20)  This is just not so.  God wants to save us so much so that He sent His only Son to die for our sins (John 3:16).  God wants more than just our friendship He wants to be our Father; “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ ”  This is more than casual ‘take it our leave it’ friendship.  This is ‘for keeps’! This is for eternity not causal friendship!

God told us to listen to Jesus; “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5) The theology of the cross is the theology of glory; ” ‘Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.’ This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:31-33)

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