The guys discuss a theology of the cross versus a theology of glory. And, we consider the point of our sanctification.
Episode: Take Up Your Cross
Giveaway: “Recovering Eden” by Zack Eswine
FREE EBOOK: Theocast.org/primer
Semper Reformanda Transcripts
Justin Perdue: Welcome to the Semper Reformanda podcast.
When we were having the conversation back on the regular portion of the podcast, we alluded to several things: one of them being these principles of a theology of the cross versus a theology of glory; it’s very applicable to the conversation about dying with dignity and hope. The reason that people react quite strongly to a statement like that, that what we’re doing in the care of souls is to help people die with dignity and hope in Jesus, people buck that and say, “No. There is a lot more that we need to be doing. We need to be churning out strong, valiant, fearless, uber mature disciples who look and talk a certain way, and don’t struggle in certain ways. And if we’re not doing that, then we’re failing. That’s what we need to be doing as pastors.” Our response to that is some of what we said in the regular show, but I think we want to unpack this more here.
We actually have been told in Scripture that yes, we will grow and yes, we will be conformed into Christ’s image, and in this life we will still be weak. We, in this life, will not have a strength of our own that we can trust him. We will know that God’s strength is sufficient, His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in our weakness, His grace and Christ’s work has paid for every failing, and that Christ has us. And we’re going to learn that more and more and more, and be driven more deeply into the gospel, and be driven more deeply into Christ, and we’ll know ourselves to be more dependent as we grow in the faith. You and I don’t grow in our sufficiency as we mature; we actually realize how insufficient we are as we mature, and so we cling to Christ all the more.
If that’s what you mean by being stronger in the faith then I’m all for it, but I don’t think that’s what most people mean. It’s because we have confused these categories of the theology of the cross and the theology of glory. A theology of glory is very much earthbound. It’s focused on this life and strength and power and improvement now—getting glory now. Whereas a theology of the cross actually says something different: that we are weak, needy, frail, and feeble now. Christ has accomplished our salvation and glory is coming, but it’s a pattern now of weakness and suffering and then glory in the next life, not this one. I think the church, having confused this, is pretty obvious in a number of ways. I know you’re going to make an observation that’s more about teaching and stuff.
One observation I would just throw out there: how many really good songs have you heard written about heaven in the last 50 years? Good theological stuff written in the last 50 years. Not much. The fact that so much of our thinking is centered on improvement now… And I’m not talking about prosperity gospel theology here; we’re talking about improvement in our maturity and strength and stamina and discipline and all these things, but it’s so earthbound nonetheless. It just sounds more holy.
Jon Moffitt: Monday, I turned 40. As I get older, I think that I should be getting better, I should be progressing, I should be overcoming my weaknesses and failures. I am often reminded that everything I struggle with, everything that’s wrong, is all going to be made right. My wife and I were driving on our way to dinner last night through the backfields of Tennessee, because that’s where we live. It is beautiful. Just beautiful.
Justin Perdue: It’s the stuff country songs are made of.
Jon Moffitt: I’m just thinking, as we’re driving, that one day, my wife and I