The end game of good theology is worship and devotion. If you don’t arrive there in your study of God, you haven’t glimpsed him. Good theology is anything but dry and boring. It’s not hard to tell if a theologian is correctly grasping the revelation of God- they are people of prayer and worship. This is the litmus test of good theology and a good theologian. The reason those around the Throne sing holy, holy, holy endlessly throughout eternity is because every nano-second a new and overwhelmingly mind-blowing and beautiful aspect of God’s nature is revealed. The best theologians begin the day asking God to show them what the angels saw that made them cry HOLY!
Those were sentiments I shared recently on Facebook. Today I’d add we’ve come to a correct grasp of a theology of the cross when we come to tears. What provokes this post is that I find myself in the middle of a classical European theological school where we are still trying to make sense of guys like Hegel who looked at the cross and broadcast to the world: God is dead. His followers pressed the seeds of his atheism into full bloom intentionally influencing religion, education, media and economy (Marx). I won’t rehearse all that here but rather move right to my point.
Seems to me there are three reactions to the Cross. First, some reject it as foolishness. The message of the Cross is a profound offence, a scandal and foolishness to the perishing. The second reaction is we are indifferent. We take the Cross out of it’s central place and put up big screens instead. We don’t mention it or the blood but rather try to reach the world by telling them how to have better marriages and sex lives. The problem with that is God reached the world through the message of the Cross not messages on better marriages and better sex lives. The third reaction is we are moved to tears.
For years I preached through Lent without any real feeling about it all. Then I heard John Stott teach on the Cross of Christ and at one point he started to weep. I prayed that God would reveal to me what Stott saw in the Cross. Could it be said that theologians who occasionally tear up when talking about the Cross are the ones who raise up a generation of pastors who have Good News share with the world?
Kristen and I are so thankful for Alan Hood and his Excellencies in Christ course. At Thomas and Melody’s graduation last summer the young gal who gave the valedictorian speech mentioned this course. She said one day early on during her time at IHOP-KC, her and her class mates came out of the course crying and profoundly moved. Another student walking by in the hallway asked what course they were coming from. She replied, “Alan’s Excellencies course.” The other student said, “Oh, you’re at the Cross.”