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On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518

On Being a Theologian of the Cross Reflections on Luther s Heidelberg Disputation While there is increasing interest in the theology of the cross few people have specific knowledge of what makes it different from other kinds of theology In On Being a Theologian of the Cross Gerha

  • Title: On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518
  • Author: Gerhard O. Forde Martin Luther
  • ISBN: 9780802843456
  • Page: 418
  • Format: Paperback
  • While there is increasing interest in the theology of the cross, few people have specific knowledge of what makes it different from other kinds of theology In On Being a Theologian of the Cross, Gerhard O Forde provides an introduction to this theological perspective through an analysis of Luther s Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, the classic text of the theology of theWhile there is increasing interest in the theology of the cross, few people have specific knowledge of what makes it different from other kinds of theology In On Being a Theologian of the Cross, Gerhard O Forde provides an introduction to this theological perspective through an analysis of Luther s Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, the classic text of the theology of the cross The book first clarifies the difference between a theology of glory and a theology of the cross and explains how each perspective shapes the very nature of being a theologian The main body of the book provides commentary on the Heidelberg Disputation the only complete analysis of this document currently available Underlying Forde s exposition is the contention that one ought not to speak of the theology of the cross merely as another item among a host of theological options instead, one must pursue what it means to be a theologian of the cross and to look at all things through suffering and the cross.

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    1 thought on “On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518

    1. Forde’s book titled, “On Being a Theologian of the Cross” is definitely a small shot of espresso. It only pushes past 100 pages but is a rich explanation of the heart of Martin Luther’s 1518 Heidelberg Disputation. He divides the 28 Theses of Luther into 4 digestible sections that are explained below. The Problem with Good Works: Theses 1-12 Forde shares the dangers and problems with works in connection to salvation by grace through faith. Works become seductive when one is tempted into [...]

    2. Amazing.8 pages of quotes were highlighted - here's a few of the best."the soul's insatiable "thirst for glory" is not ended by satisfying it but rather by extinguishing it""when we have no fear of the Lord and we instead presume to come before the Lord bustling with self-confidence in our own accomplishments, enjoying ourselves in our works, as Luther puts it, our works are deadly sins even if we think they are done with the help of grace. For then our works stand between us and God; they usurp [...]

    3. This is an incredible exploration into Luther's understanding of our relationship with God. However, like most of Forde's stuff, it's not intended for normal people, rather, it's written that only freakishly intellectual theologians will be able to appreciate it (thus 4 stars instead of 5).

    4. Gerhard O. Forde’s “On Being a Theologian of the Cross” is an illuminating exposition of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation (1518). He unpacks the meaning of the 28 theological theses that Luther presented before the Augustinian order, and how these theses provide the foundation of for Protestant soteriology when it comes to the contrast between Law and Gospel, the bondage of the will, and absolute sufficiency of God’s grace when it comes to salvation. All of this is presented in t [...]

    5. Having been an evangelical Christian my entire life you wouldn’t think that a book about the gospel could be such a bolt from the blue. But On Being a Theologian of the Cross is potentially paradigm shifting. Working through Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, Gerhard O. Forde presents the gospel starkly and biblically. Both theological liberals and conservatives, for very different reasons, are likely to be challenged by Luther’s theology of the cross. It has really made me want to re [...]

    6. Book Closing: Forde's concise book of reflections on the Hiedelberg Disputation that become the foundation for the Lutheran concept of "Theology of the Cross" is a short read that is relatively easy to read, given the complexity of the document that it seeks to unpack (the Hiedelberg Disputation). In in, Forde separates Luther's 29 Theses into manageable chunks that then form systematic boxes to understand each of the unique points made by each thesis. Forde does a good job of structuring his bo [...]

    7. This books was a mixed bag. First the good. Forde does a better job in this book than I've ever read anywhere of defining what the theology of glory is. You can find a number of books that do a good job of defining the theology of the Cross; but they usually give that definition with something along the line of "as opposed to a theology of glory, which is bad." Forde really goes into it thoroughly. I have some reservations. Forde refers critically to LCMS as being extreme in affirming the Formul [...]

    8. An excellent and challenging read. Forde summarizes and explains, well, Luther's Heidelberg Disputation. Specifically, he explores the tension between being a theologian of glory (works) and a theologian of the cross (grace/faith) and the merits and risks of each position. Forde is definitely a little denser than many modern Christian writers--some of the passages need to be re-read a few time to really 'get' his points. Still, I've no doubt he's a much easier read than the original Disputation, [...]

    9. This was closer to a 4.5-star work; it was superb through to about the last chapter where there were some minor points Forde made about works that I did not believe to be entirely in line with Scripture or that he could have been a bit more complete on for the sake of clarity (I also know that he rejects the 'Third Use of the Law' from the Lutheran Confessions so that may have played into my view of his commentary on Theses 26 & 27; his view on the 'Third Use' is also one reason why I cannot [...]

    10. Though it is not explicitly portrayed as such, I definitely saw the theology of the Cross as a hermeneutical tool for interpretation. It sheds a very different, powerful, vibrant light on common passages of the Bible.The focus here is the theologian of glory in me, in us. The one that wants to eclipse the responsibility of God in our suffering and dismiss the goodness of suffering. The suffering talked about here is the suffering of the patient whose operation is done/inflicted by the surgeon. C [...]

    11. This is a great overview of the Theology of the Cross. It provides insight on Martin Luther's views and why the grace of God isn't always attractive to Christians.

    12. Reread this book twice. I am sure I will read it again. The Heidelberg Disputation has enough to keep one thinking for a lifetime.

    13. Being the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I thought it fitting to read at least one thing Luther-related--and I'm very glad I did. The Heidelberg Disputations (1518) is arguably Martin Luther's most seminal contribution (more than the 95 Theses!) to the Reformation and to the broader Christian theological tradition. However, his dialectical imagination can be quite perplexing! Therefore, Gerhard O. Forde, a Lutheran professor of Lutheran theology at a Lutheran seminary (he must be the righ [...]

    14. Forde does not ramble on. In a quick read he dissects the Heidelberg Disputation. He states the thesis and explains it succintly. I have read reviews saying that it is repetitive, but tat is Luther not Forde. Luther was trained in jurisprudence in and Humanist Germany. The way of building an argument is to build on previous statements. There is repetition. Its a sales tactic. You get the customer to say yes to all of the little questions so that the big question is less of a leap. Luter discuss [...]

    15. Four stars just because it can be a little heavy in places. More in-depth on contrasts of Theology of Glory to Theology of the Cross than what I have read thus far.

    16. On Being a Theologian of the Crossby Forde, Gerhard O.This is a wooden read with the occasional concept that strikes your soul. If you keep at it, you’ll find these. Like digging in loose dirt with bare hands, these concepts will cut and you’ll have to stop before keeping on with your reading. The sharp concepts for me were the necessity of the law and the slash against human capacity, that, as Forde puts is, our best work is our most deprived. The law is weak today and needs to be sharper s [...]

    17. Forde���s book titled, ���On Being a Theologian of the Cross��� is definitely a small shot of espresso. It only pushes past 100 pages but is a rich explanation of the heart of Martin Luther���s 1518 Heidelberg Disputation. He divides the 28 Theses of Luther into 4 digestible sections that are explained below. The Problem with Good Works: Theses 1-12 Forde shares the dangers and problems with works in connection to salvation by grace through faith. Works become seductive w [...]

    18. Wow- opened up this book and within the first chapter I read about "Victimization vs. Sin". That hit right where I had set up Christian camp, and lived for 13+ years! Gerhard O. Forde rightly points out that in this scenario a Theology of Glory emerges and " SInce we are victims and not really sinners, what we need is affirmation and support" [The theology]s more therapeutic rather than evangelical. It must be trimmed more and more so as not to give offense. Cures are mistakenr redemption. When [...]

    19. Anything and everything Forde writes is like finding true gold in a pile of crap of other theology books. The only thing is, if you subscribe to what he's selling, as i do, it makes obsolete the majority of other Christian thinkers on your shelf This book sums up Luther's earth-shattering kingdom shaking "Heidelberg Disputation" - and sums up the theology of the cross, which as Forde puts it is in COMBAT with a theology of glory - how it is that people are saved - by grace alone thru faith alone [...]

    20. The late, great Dr. Forde was a blessing to the Church in many ways. This book is one of them. Among other things, Dr. Forde helps us to understand the difference between a theology of glory and a theology of the cross. Under a theology of glory, a person who has recovered from a life-threatening illness believes that God loves them, for He's blessed them with recovered health Under a theology of the cross, a person believes that God loves them, for He's blessed them regardless of their health o [...]

    21. I find this a good book for refocusing what we might think of as good Christian living as really seeking our own glory. We too often feel the need to work in order to merit something, but we cannot. What a lie. This little book helps to redirect us to Christ and his work, his suffering, his death, his resurrction and how that is all that matters. I do hate to lose the term "glory story" which for me has always been the true and glorious gospel message of the life, death, and resurrection of Chri [...]

    22. I feel as though the author took a lot of practical theology and over-complicated it in his reflection of the Heidelberg Disputation. Don't get me wrong, this book is thoroughly biblical, save a few odd remarks and places where the author pushed the text farther than the Scriptures would allow for, and has a lot of application for the believer. My major qualm is that it should be primarily read by those who don't quite grasp justification and salvation, though it probably won't be very readable [...]

    23. this really helped me. luther said the theologians of glory ended up looking at the "spirituality" (so called) of god's people for evidence of god's glory, rather than the crucified christ. at the cross god manifested and hid his glory at the same time. at teh cross we learn that we have been terminated and that there is no longer an expectation on us or a demand upon us. it is the crucified christ that brings us to the knowledge of god.

    24. This little book is a fire-brand. As a pastor in a slightly different theological tradition, I was challenged, encouraged, sharpened, shocked, and helped by this exposition of Luther's Disputation. I wish I could say the same for all theology books. Carl Trueman once wrote: "The cross is not simply the point at which God atones for sin; it is also a profound revelation of who God is and how he acts toward his creation." Forde does a great job illuminating Luther's thinking on this subject.

    25. This book was a great read. Forde does a phenomenal job making his points. This was a tough read, despite its short length (115 pages). Each sentence is packed with good stuff; I often had to read sentences and paragraphs multiple times and stop to think through them in order to make sense of it. Overall it's worth the effort, though. Great stuff - real meat.

    26. In my opinion, Luther was an astute theologian. I strongly disagree with his law/gospel hermeneutic, and I lean toward a more libertarian understanding of free will than him, but Luther's theology of the cross still stands out as a landmark achievement in theological history. Forde's book is probably the best introduction available.

    27. Not much in this slender (115 pg) volume to recommend it to the modern reader. Although written in 1977, it is medievalist in outlook -- a hardline Lutheran/Augustinian theology, more akin to Calvinism than current ELCA teachings. Unless you are into an angry, punishing, monarchical God, you can skip this one.

    28. Very personal. Forde's voice must be heard. Ideas that are so important, and for that, this book deserves a five, but as a theologian, Forde's style is a bit difficult to read, even thick sometimes and for that reason I am giving it four stars.

    29. This is a very helpful book in understanding the worldview of Lutheranism. I would recommend it for all Lutherans regardless of specific denomination affiliation; and to anybody hoping to understand more about Lutheran theology.

    30. A brief but powerful introduction to Luther's hermeneutic. Forde tightly and brightly untangles the reasoning and implications of Luther's 1518 Heidelberg Disputation for the modern theologian. Newer insights will be learned; latent misconceptions will be lost.

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