Luther espoused what came to be known as the theologia crucis (theology of the cross) for the Heidelberg Disputation which commenced on the 25 April 1518. The theses below are some of his theses from that disputation which were defended before the rest of the Augustinian cloister who were essentially gathered to ‘sort Luther out’. While superficially cryptic, Luther’s theology in essence reflects that of the Apostle Paul who said:
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:21–25 ESV)
Luther saw that Christ’s power was indeed foolishness to the world. The world expects a ‘Hollywood Hero’ whereas the real saviour suffered and was slaughtered at the hands of men. Not the most macho way to die in the eyes of the world – yet this suffering resulted in the greatest spectacle of the power of God!
Here is what Luther said:
19. That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened [Rom. 1:20].
20. He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.
21. A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.
22. That wisdom which sees the invisible things of God in works as perceived by man is completely puffed up, blinded, and hardened.
28. The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.