One big reason why Christianity has gotten a bad rap in post-world WWII Europe is that increasingly it began to be seen as hypocritical and disingenuous. Partly, as a result, the churches saw massive losses in the 60s and 70s. Statistics show that in my own country the Netherlands, for instance, the decline has still not come to a halt. I realize that a reduction to a single cause of any historical phenomenon is asking for trouble. But I’m not a historian and my purpose in this article is not to give an exhaustive overview of the decline of Christianity in Europe. Rather, I want to address a similar problem in evangelicalism where the accusation of hypocrisy points to a weird tension between evangelical theology and justice.
Bonhoeffer’s theology is multifaceted. It can be approached from many different sides and applied for different purposes. In part, this is because Bonhoeffer developed such a rich theological narrative, in part, because his theology addressed people in their context, in part, it is because his theology stands under the influence of many, often opposing voices. It is no wonder that there are many interpretations of Bonhoeffer’s theology that often conflict with each other. There is even a [book] out that addresses the problem of the many different Bonhoeffer’s that are paraded as the original in support of this or that theological or ethical stance.
Sanctification is a myth and a self-delusion, that is to say, the way Christians tend to interpret and implement the concept.Read More
Recently someone asked me about the difference between a theology of the cross and a theology of glory. Let me briefly explain. The theology of the cross has its roots in St. Paul who in his 1st Epistle to the Corinthians spoke about the cross of Christ as foolishness to the philosophers and an affront to religion. Read More
Bonhoeffer’s theology is a modern version of Luther’s theology of the cross. It is not merely a slavishly reworked version but constitutes a highly original contribution to the conversation that captures both the essential elements and the heart of Luther’s theology and makes it relevant for today. To the extent that Luther’s work represented a copernican revolution in theology Bonhoeffer’s work does too. Read More
Luther’s theology of the cross, it is sometimes asserted, opened the way to the atheism of the modern age. The cross as the symbol of the hiddenness of God in the midst of reality, confounding reason, always harbors the threat of God’s non-being; it is always possible that behind the hiddenness of God behind the cross is nothing; that the veil of the cross will eventually reveal nothingness. The suffering Christ crying out ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me’ is truly godforsaken. While Luther did not intend this, of course—for otherwise he would not speak of hiddenness but absence—the cross is always an ambiguous place in his theology. It is a place of paradox. Read More