The Theology of the Cross: Subversive Theology for a Postmodern World?

I really like Graham Tomlin's stuff. Have read a couple of his books and recently grabbed his dissertation, you know, the Paternoster ones that only theo-dorks actually purchase. Anyhow, here is a fantastic article on the theology of the cross and theology. Some excerpts:

"Paul’s response centres upon the cross of Christ, as the place where God has revealed his ‘wisdom’, or his ‘characteristic way of working’."

"Furthermore, the cross answers not just Corinthian quarrelling, but Corinthian arrogance as well. God’s wisdom is exemplified in his scandalous choice of a crucified Messiah as the means of salvation, a relatively low-status group of people for the majority of his church in Corinth, and a weak, rhetorically unskilled and spiritually exhausted apostle (1:26–2:5). The cross gives value to the weaker, poorer brother, as one for whom Christ died (8:11). Whereas these Corinthian Christians disdained the poor and Paul, God had chosen them for his purposes. The cross thus deconstructs both competitiveness and arrogance."

"It is this pattern of life he recommends to these Christians, namely the way of servanthood, the way of the cross. A theology which begins at the cross is, for Paul, the radical antidote to any religion which is only a thinly veiled copy of a power-seeking culture."

"It seems that sometime towards the end of 1515, Luther arrived at a realization that the cross was not just the way God chose to save the world, or the path to be trod if salvation was to be achieved, but that it reveals God’s characteristic way of working in the world. God condemns before he saves. If God is to be able to save him, the sinner must be made passive, brought to a sense of his own powerlessness before his creator. He can only come with empty hands. God reveals this pattern in the cross, where Christ too is made passive before God, before he can be raised. On the cross, Christ seems to be suffering defeat, yet, to the eye of faith, God is working out the salvation of the world. In this theology, therefore, revelation is back to front, hidden, and contrary to what is expected. Things are not what they seem and the sign and the thing signified are out of joint. What seem to be valuable (human piety, wisdom, philosophy) are in fact worthless, and what seem weak and negligible (the experience of suffering, temptation, awareness of sin and failure) are in fact God’s precious work to humble and then save the sinner."

"God saves only sinners, teaches only the stupid, enriches only the poor, raises only the dead. Therefore, to be saved, one must become sinful, foolish, poor, helpless, exactly what his spirituality had led Luther to acknowledge himself to be."

"The way God saves people in the present, and the form in which he has revealed himself historically, are joined at the cross. The vital clue for understanding the way God works is always the cross: God works and reveals himself in suffering and weakness, not strength and glory, whether in Christ or the Christian, in the first century or the sixteenth."

"Outside Jesus Christ and the cross there can be no self-knowledge or knowledge of God, life or death."

"The believer and the church should not be surprised if what happened to Christ happens to them. The theologia crucis is for these theologians an insistence on the paradigmatic nature of the cross: it is not solely a soteriological event which remains locked in the past, but is a paradigm of the way in which God always works."

Read the whole thing.