Being Theologians of the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:23-24, We proclaim Christ crucified… Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (own Greek translation).

Our confession as Christians is Jesus Christ our Lord, in whom God’s power and wisdom are fully revealed, especially on the cross. Thus, when confronted with the mysteries of God, we must not act as the theologian of glory does. The theologian of glory seeks to look beyond the cross and speculate on the hiddenness of God. “Why does God permit suffering?” The theologian of glory goes on an apologetic rant, seeking to justify/defend God (i.e. theodicy, which means, “justifying God”). God does not need us to justify and defend Him. The theologian of glory thinks they can get behind the cross, peer into and study the mind of God, and give a rational defence on His hidden nature. But it is a futile attempt. Whatever God has hidden about Himself—whatever He has chosen not to reveal—we can never see nor fathom.

Thus, as theologians of the cross, we say, “God only knows.” We do not try to look beyond the cross to ascertain what God has not revealed in Christ. Thus, we stop at the cross and say, “I don’t know. But there hangs Christ on the cross, who suffered the ultimate suffering for all so that all who suffer might not perish but repent and receive eternal life. Therefore, when confronted with such profound, unfathomable and unattainable mysteries of God, all I can do is repent and receive God’s mercy in Christ lest I, too, perish (cf. Luke 13:1-5).”

The theologian of glory seeks to exalt themselves in their works and speculations on God’s hiddenness (and this is in all of us). The theologian of the cross, however, exalts only Christ and proclaims Him crucified, not our speculations on God’s hiddenness. We can only know what God has revealed, and that is His power and wisdom in Christ, especially its culmination on the cross. Before the mysteries of God, we can only repent before the cross; we cannot reach and grab His mysteries. Rejecting the idea of a God we cannot fully comprehend because He has chosen not to reveal parts about Himself is the root cause of the Rebellion of Man and his fall into sin.

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