Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Theology of the Cross

Jollyblogger David Wayne, diagnosed the week before Christmas with cancer of the colon, lung, and liver, has begun writing about the theological implications of his illness. My attempts to describe his thoughts, however, probably can't do them justice. Here's a sample:

The theology of glory looks for God in the midst of the big, the spectacular, the powerful, the victorious - it is a triumphalistic approach to the Christian life. The theology of the cross says that God's clearest revelation of Himself is in the cross - therefore if you want to find God you will find Him in the midst of suffering, He will hide Himself from the world rather than display Himself before the world in great glory, and He is present in defeat as much as or more so than victory.

All of this started working on me around Thanksgiving and into December and one of the thoughts that came into my head as an application of this is that we tend to give God the praise when He delivers us from suffering. In other words, we believe we have found God and He has shown Himself at the moment of deliverance and this is the stuff of our testimonies - I once was suffering but now I'm free - praise be to God.

But it occurred to me that such a testimony only has resonance in the affluent west. What do we say of Chinese believers and others around the world whom God delivers unto suffering, not from suffering. For many Christians throughout history their testimony has not been the typical western testimony, it has been the testimony of illness, homelessness, and persecution, to be followed by further persecutions, beatings and death in anonymity.

All I can say, Christian, is please click over to David's site and read the whole thing.


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