Religious groups over the years have made many mistakes in letting issues define them. Baptists made the mistake years ago by being defined by opposition to desegregation. Baptists also made the mistake of being defined by opposition to alcohol, dancing, and playing cards. Pentecostal groups became defined by speaking in unknown tongues. In days past, many evangelical groups were defined by fire and brimstone preaching. Today, many non-denominational churches have become defined by the prosperity gospel.
As I read this months issue of “The Lutheran”, the magazine published by the ELCA, I realized they have made the same mistake. The problem is that it gives the impression that one issue in particular now defines the denomination. I don’t want to argue the merits of this one issue, only to point out that it seems to define the denomination. Something similar seems to have happened to Presbyterian USA and to the Episcopal denomination.
I am reading the English translation of Luther’s “Commentary on Galatians”. In it Luther again addresses what is often referred to as the Theology of Glory and the Theology of the Cross. He warns against being defined by the Theology of Glory. He instructs students to always focus on the Theology of the Cross, even though so doing will result in not receiving the glory of mankind.
I hope my days of focusing on the Theology of Glory are over. There are many others in this world who spend countless time debating the issues related to the Law. For me, those days are over. I hope to quietly and persistently spread the Theology of the Cross the rest of my days.