Tuesday, June 27, 2017

EMA Day 1: Garry Williams on Luther's Theology of the Cross

(Some of the following are my attempts to capture quotations from Luther that I didn't get down perfectly or fully. It would be worth checking with Google / Luther's Works!)

Diet of Worms (?):  Luther, “Here I stand!” - Would you stand with him?

Likely Luther would not stand with you!

Double predestination

Infant baptism

Confessional Xian government

State reforming the church


Do you think of yourself as an heir of Luther?

The supreme authority of Scripture

J b f a

But his distinctives were fellowship breaking for Luther - not EA basis etc.

He would exclude us; he could not be a member in many of our churches

Trueman - desert island with Calvin or Luther?! Would you have 2 camp fires?

Antisemitism in later writings

His character


Theologians of the cross - us as people - how we live and think - how we know God through the cross of J - our own crosses

A theology of revelation and our whole experience of life

God hides himself in unexpected places

God reveals himself in thoroughly ungodlike ways

Dt 32 - I kill and I make alive. I will make my arrows drunk with blood

1 Sam 2:6-7

Is 28:21

God's strange and alien work

JX - unattractive - no form or majesty or beauty

A theology of opposites - God reveals himself under the opposites

Life is found in death

Mercy is found in the expression of God's wrath

Looking for heaven? Go look at hell

The cross - opposites - the worst death, awful wrath, hell itself

True theology and God are to be found in the cross of Christ

1 Cor 1 - wisdom in foolishness

Jesus only here, God only here

Sermon on meditation on Christ's sufferings - pass beyond the sufferings to his friendly heart which so loved you that it bears your pain etc

God's eternal and kind heart is found in the awful cross of death, wrath and hell


Our Christian life like Jesus'

The real and true work of Christ's passion is to make man conformable to Christ

X's suffering overflows into our life

Calvin: if we are joined with X, we must share his suffering

We must live Chistomorphic lives, cross shaped life

When we suffer, God is not being unfatherly to us - God is being most father-like to us

Luther often in fear of death, but everyone faces this suffering - Anfechtung - temptation, devil; trial, God's work in it to test you; affliction, tribulation

Temptations, trials, afflictions, inward sadness, timidity, fear, poverty, contempt, weakness

Spiritual depression, all black and horrible wherever you turn your eyes

1510s, Luther's torment by sin, agony of conscience, conviction of sin crucial, as much as we accuse ourselves, God pardons us

Opposition, persecution

Hiding in Wartburg castle - isolation, attacked by devil

Wittenberg - Reformation too fast / radical - battles in church life

Years of great ministry disappointment, struggles, Luther thought he was failing

1529 - we are preaching but it seems fruitless

I am sorry I ever freed you from the tyrants and papists you ungrateful beasts. You are not worthy of the Gospel. If you do not improve I will stop preaching

I would rather preach to mad dogs!

For most of 1530, Luther stopped preaching

Xian life is largely a matter of death, spiritual daily death

Luther almost dismissive of physical death

Sermon at the elector of Saxony's funeral - his real death was when he stood up at the diet of Augsburg and owned the gospel

Literal death is animal, childlike

cf. the fear of death - opposition, sin, humiliation

You must be humiliated. The one thing you can never be is proud esp. in your ministry

Do not think you have made it or flatter yourself that you have made it and your little books please you. Take yourself by the ears if you love praise.

You will find donkey ears. Decorate them! People will then see and hear you, O great preacher and writer of such marvellous books.

Let us be proud and seek honour where we can, but God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.

What Luther feared most was the lack of temptation. That would be total temptation and pride.

Commentary on Patriarchs, Joseph and Jacob.

What was it like for Joseph to be snatched from his family, thrown into prison and expecting death? You must see in this the good will of God, though it seems the opposite. God hides himself under the form of the worst devil.

God cannot be God unless he first becomes a devil. All that God speaks and does the devil has to speak and do first.

God uses the devil all the time. The devil is God's constant instrument.

The devil is always and only the instrument of God, always under his control, never let off his leash, utterly subordinate under the totally sovereign God.

God is always working his good purposes.

Luther's contemporaries seem to have believed in leprechauns / pixie like things! A highly spiritualised world.

cf. Manicheism - the devil a power at war with God - might he even win?

Luther says endure, wait for the Lord, hold fast, trust his word, courage, be undismayed

If you cannot do this, hold fast! Just cling on if you cannot do it triumphantly.

Jacob and his fight with God - weak and battered - faith struggling - they were not senseless rocks and logs, not always firm and strong in faith

We suffer from infirmities like the Patriarchs did

See God in your sufferings - he is the God of the cross - he uses the worst work of Satan

God is in your circumstances - the signs of his wrath are signs of his love and good will

God is accustomed to wrestle with us in the form of a destroyer but he reaches us up from hell and kisses and embraces us as his beloved sins

Ah, how I would like God to love others not me, said one peasant, if God loves like this!

But we can look back on God's good work in us.

Luther said the Papists had done God's work in him and made him a fair theologian through anfechtung

Embrace Luther's wide view of suffering / temptation / trial / anfechtung

The battle is raging here. We are in danger and must be on our guard.

The suffering of a troubled conscience, battle with the flesh. Crucify the sinful nature. All affliction. All fear of death. Death itself.

Have a big category of affliction!

What are you teaching yourself and your people about suffering?

Are you merely a bible teacher or do you teach for the sake of godly Christian living in the face of suffering?

Bible teaching is not an end in itself but a means to living the Xian life to the glory of God.

You are not just a Bible teacher you are a life-coach!

The Bible is oriented to experience, to the cross shaped life.

Are we preparing people for Monday? For the next stage of life? For the temptations of mid-life, retirement, old age?

Prepare them for anfechtung! Prepare them for suffering and death broadly conceived.

Take up your cross and follow J. Crucifixion is the shape of the Xian life.

Prepare the people for daily and ultimate death.

Xian life and Xian gatherings are a sober business. We are not light & fluffy / glossy magazine / not prosperity gospel.

Preach a message for the storms of life. A theology for the wilderness which is the true character of all Christian life.

If the Xian message is unattractive, so is Jesus.

Do we have the beautiful people on our website?

Come and learn how to suffer and die daily!

Only this message is real about life and faithful to the crucified Christ.

Only the cross of Jesus can suffer.

Luther would have you apply to Satan's seminary of suffering. It is the school of God at work. Submit to daily suffering, crucifixion, death.

God will teach you to die that you might live.

Preach Job and more Job!

This is the shape of the whole Bible.

Abraham - not receiving the land he looks for, near sacrifice of sin


Jacob's labours for a wife

Joseph rotting in jail

Moses years in wilderness, people grumbling, dying outside land

David - Saul, Absalom

Stephen stoned to death

Paul whipped, shipwrecked


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