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The Holiness of the Cross


The Holiness of the Cross

All doctrine is generated by the cross, since apart from the cross we don’t know God at all.
All doctrine is seen through the lens of the cross, since knowledge of the Redeemer precedes, e.g., knowledge of the Creator.


Therefore, in speaking of the “sovereignty” or “almightiness” of God we need to redefine the concept in terms of the cross.

w.r.t. “Almighty”:
1]  the word is used marginally in script.
2]  God’s power isn’t a projection of ours.
3]  sheer power, undifferentiated power, unqualified power, is what script. means by “evil.”
4]  power is the capacity to achieve purpose;
a.       What is God’s purpose?
b.       How does God achieve this purpose?
5]  among much else, the cross means  there is no limit to God’s vulnerability; the resurrection, that
there is no limit to the effectiveness of God’s vulnerability.
6]  the risen, ascended, triumphant, ruling Lord suffers still: “Rich wounds, yet visible above”.
7]  it must always be remembered that God is primordially Person.  Therefore his power is the effectiveness of his person, which person is characterized by suffering vulnerability.
God (like any person) is never to be “thingified.”   Calvin: God’s person is found in all God’s acts.
8]  how many times does Calvin speak of God’s “sovereignty” in the Institutes?   None.
9]  we must gain our understanding of God’s holiness, then, from the cross.

The Creator and the Redeemer are one and the same.
i.                     no Marcionism
ii.                   if Creator and Redeemer aren’t the same, then it isn’t the creation that’s been redeemed.
iii.                  the Fall never effaces the goodness of the creation or the Imago Dei, however defaced these might be.  Defaced, these must be restored.
iv.                 in light of #iii the Gnesio-Lutherans (Matthias Illyricus Flacius) are wrong


We preach not “Christ” but “Christ crucified”.  See Ernst Kaesemann, “For and Against a Theology of the Resurrection”, Jesus Means Freedom.

We don’t begin with the cross and then leave it behind.  See Luther, theologia crucis. 

Willis insists on the continuity of the two testaments.  See handout.

Willis insists that the extra Calvinisticum explicates the unity of the two natures in Christ. He recalls the four Chalcedonian adverbs:

inconfuse         without confusion
immutabiliter    without change                      against the monophysites
indivise            without division
inseparabiliter   without separation                against the Nestorians


Willis insists that the extra Calvinisticum protects against
1.       exaggerated [I’d say “one-sided”] immanence: the Word became flesh and thereby forfeited his transcendence
2.       exaggerated immanence: in rightly remaining transcendent, the Word was never actually, really, truly made flesh.

The extra Calvinisticum is needed today when people
a.       one-sidedly speak of Immanence — e.g., theologies that incorrectly identify God with our concerns and griefs
b.       one-sidedly speak of Transcendence — e.g., theologies that remove God utterly from our concerns and griefs
c.       separate Transcendence and Immanence.


Immanence exaggerated: pan(en)theism.
Transcendence “: atheism (since God is inaccessible and unknowable.)


With all the above the gospel is lost.