Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology

Rate this book
"This is Jürgen Moltmann's best and therefore most important book. He has substantially changed the central thrust of his theology without sacrificing its most vital element, its passionate concern for alleviation of the world's suffering."
-Langdon Gilkey

"The Crucified God rewards, as it demands, the reader's patient and open-minded attention, for its theme is nothing other than the "explosive presence" of the sighting and liberating Spirit of God in the midst of human life."
-The Review of Books and Religion

364 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1972

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jürgen Moltmann

178 books168 followers
Jürgen Moltmann is a German Reformed theologian. He is the 2000 recipient of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Moltmann's Theology of Hope is a theological perspective with an eschatological foundation and focuses on the hope that the resurrection brings. Through faith we are bound to Christ, and as such have the hope of the resurrected Christ ("Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3, NIV)), and knowledge of his return. For Moltmann, the hope of the Christian faith is hope in the resurrection of Christ crucified. Hope and faith depend on each other to remain true and substantial; and only with both may one find "not only a consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against suffering."

However, because of this hope we hold, we may never exist harmoniously in a society such as ours which is based on sin. When following the Theology of Hope, a Christian should find hope in the future but also experience much discontentment with the way the world is now, corrupt and full of sin. Sin bases itself in hopelessness, which can take on two forms: presumption and despair. "Presumption is a premature, selfwilled anticipation of the fulfillment of what we hope for from God. Despair is the premature, arbitrary anticipation of the non-fulfillment of what we hope for from God."

In Moltmann's opinion, all should be seen from an eschatological perspective, looking toward the days when Christ will make all things new. "A proper theology would therefore have to be constructed in the light of its future goal. Eschatology should not be its end, but its beginning." This does not, as many fear, 'remove happiness from the present' by focusing all ones attention toward the hope for Christ's return. Moltmann addresses this concern as such: "Does this hope cheat man of the happiness of the present? How could it do so! For it is itself the happiness of the present." The importance of the current times is necessary for the Theology of Hope because it brings the future events to the here and now. This theological perspective of eschatology makes the hope of the future, the hope of today.

Hope strengthens faith and aids a believer into living a life of love, and directing them toward a new creation of all things. It creates in a believer a "passion for the possible" "For our knowledge and comprehension of reality, and our reflections on it, that means at least this: that in the medium of hope our theological concepts become not judgments which nail reality down to what it is, but anticipations which show reality its prospects and its future possibilities." This passion is one that is centered around the hope of the resurrected and the returning Christ, creating a change within a believer and drives the change that a believer seeks make on the world.

For Moltmann, creation and eschatology depend on one another. There exists an ongoing process of creation, continuing creation, alongside creation ex nihilo and the consummation of creation. The consummation of creation will consist of the eschatological transformation of this creation into the new creation. The apocalypse will include the purging of sin from our finite world so that a transformed humanity can participate in the new creation.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
755 (48%)
4 stars
522 (33%)
3 stars
225 (14%)
2 stars
42 (2%)
1 star
28 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 82 reviews
Profile Image for David .
1,237 reviews153 followers
March 30, 2010
Amazing, simply amazing. This may go down as one of my all-time favorite books. I highly recommend this for pastors, teachers and anyone interested in theology. Moltmann demonstrates the absolute centrality of the cross of Christ and its meaning for Christian faith. Importantly, he does this with a robust doctrine of the Trinity; on the cross the Son experienced Fatherlessness (in the cry "my God, why have you forsaken me") and the Father experienced Sonlessness. Yet through this break in the relational God, humanity is now welcomed in. And it changes everything. Overall, a dense and difficult, but great and rewarding read.
Profile Image for Bob Price.
321 reviews4 followers
August 11, 2011
To the extent that I can understand him, Jurgen Moltmann's Crucified God tops the list of explorations of Christian Theology.

Developing on themes that he introduced in Theology of Hope , Moltmann now turns his attention to the crucifixion of Jesus and its theological, psychological, and political implications. Moltmann is not content to do theology for theology's sake. He sees in theology a complex matrix that helps not only the church, but the entire world.

Positively, the aspect of Moltmann's thought that I appreciated was his understanding of the suffering of God and of Christ. The cross, as a Trinitarian event, involves all the emotional aspects of God. Christ's suffering shows a solidarity with people who suffer. God's suffering at the cross completely reverses the thought and value structure of our world (or at least it ought to). Being the first theologian I have discovered to discuss at length God's suffering Moltmann brings to light an often overlooked element in Christian theology. The idea of God suffering has huge implications, not only for theology, but also for pastoral ministry.

Negativley, Moltmann consistently goes to places and reaches conclusions that I can not follow. For him, the Bible is not necessarily the authoritative Word of God, but a book that is divinely inspired, no matter how flawed it may be. His conclusions in the political realm are also troubling. He views socialism as the way to overcome economic injustice and democracy as a way to overcome political injustice. This creates, of course, Democratic Socialism, which has never presented itself as a real answer to the problems faced by human beings. Moltmann's concern is to bring concern to those areas that present major problems for our world today...and I appreciate it I appreciate his concern also that the cross of Jesus plays directly into these concerns. My problem comes at his conclusion.

The Crucified God is not an easy book to read. Much of Moltmann is difficult to understand, but the effort is well worth it. Moltmann at times can bring great insight and clarity to the issue of the cross.

I recommend this book to pastors or others with a serious concern for deep theology.
Profile Image for Alex Strohschein.
690 reviews95 followers
April 27, 2021
Complex and wide-ranging, a classic tome on Christology from one of the last theological giants of the twentieth century. Jürgen Moltmann emphasizes God's participation and solidarity in human suffering, embodied by Jesus on the Cross. There are many stirring quotes but I also can't do full justice to the entire book.
Profile Image for Edward Backman.
15 reviews1 follower
January 4, 2022
In an interview, Moltmann was asked ‘who is God for you?’ The first part of his answer came almost instantly: “Jesus Christ.”

What does this mean, what are the implications? This text is phenomenal. It clarifies the ways in which the identification of the crucified, abandoned Christ with God is an extreme challenge for any Christian theology. That Jesus did not die nobly like Socrates, but experienced an utter collapse, suffered abandonment and rejection by God—what are the consequences of this for the meaning of the Christian message? What are the eschatological dimensions, and what is the significance of this revelation for those experiencing godlessness in the world today?Moltmann’s approach to these questions I found very striking and compelling.

And having finished this engagement with his theology, I fond myself agreeing with him wholeheartedly on these points.
In moments of monstrous inhumanity (he cites a scene of a child hung, in Elie Wiesel’s Night), the question ‘where is God?’ has only one answer: He is present with the suffering godforsaken, experiencing abandonment with them. (He is hung.) All other possible answers are blasphemy.
‘Without Jesus Christ I would not believe in God’ says Moltmann in the interview mentioned above.

Reading the chapter ‘The Eschatological Trial of Jesus’ was the first time a text ever brought me to tears.

The last two chapters on psychological and political emancipation effectively communicated an urgency and (true to his theology) a genuine sympathy for those in our world experiencing godforsakenness. But I give four stars because I wanted the last chapter to refer more to the Christology established in the rest of the text.
Profile Image for Giovanni Generoso.
163 reviews34 followers
June 20, 2014
Who is God? What is God's heart towards man, towards those who suffer, towards those who are godforsaken?

In the Crucified Christ, hanging on a tree, forsaken by God, we see God's heart towards man. Behold, the Christ has been rejected to end rejection; Christ has been oppressed to end all oppression; God has died to end all death; God is the scapegoat that ends all scapegoating. What love is this? It is the love of the Crucified God.

We wanted a God like Zeus, a God who comes with rolling thunder, a God who crushes the wicked under His heel, a God who comes in power, in domination, whose force and authority are omnipotent. But then comes Jesus, weak and lowly at heart, sorrowful unto death, non-violent, and poor in spirit. He is the Crucified God.

Not vengeance, not retribution, but forgiveness, for the oppressed, for the oppressor. Jesus comes and reveals a new righteousness, a righteousness that breaks the cycles of vengeance and hate, a righteousness that liberates the captives and forgives the sinful.
Profile Image for Avril.
423 reviews13 followers
June 17, 2012
This book is one of the reasons I'm still a Christian. At a time when I was heading towards protest atheism, refusing to believe in a god in the face of the world's suffering, Moltmann gave me a theodicy I could accept. A wonderful book!
Profile Image for Bob.
126 reviews7 followers
October 27, 2007
The single best understanding of the crucifixion -- in my opinion.
Profile Image for Keith Lane.
51 reviews9 followers
May 7, 2012
This book had the most impact on me, personally and theologically, of all the books I read in my courses in grad school. I'm reading it again to know it better. Incisive and eloquent.
Profile Image for Tony Jones.
Author 86 books91 followers
May 28, 2013
The best christology of the twentieth century.
Profile Image for Steve Irby.
319 reviews6 followers
January 6, 2022
I just finished "The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology," by Jurgen Moltmann.

This is my second time through TCG.

Moltmann says that this is a theology of the cross, contemplation on the Crucifixion of Christ. He can do this because his Theology of Hope is couldn't get off the ground without the resurrection. So the publishing is a bit of "in reverse order."

Ch. 1:
The Christian can not find their identity in their religious expression, creed or anything other than in the proclmation that "the crucified Christ was the one abandoned by God" with others in community. Identity is not in faith alone, correct doctrinal formula, liturgy, or set patterns of moral behavior (hallmarks of the "religion of fear"). The religion of fear is a timid faith rather than the act of identity with the crucified One. Identity is the opposite of "little faith." The religion of fear leads to sectarianism; us vs them.

There is the other extreme too where one leans so humanistic in their religious expression that they loose all Divinity in their faith. Moltmann uses the hypostatic union to describe this. One can not separate their Jesuology from their Christology; these two meet on the cross and our reflection should be that of both a vertical and horizontal faith; the care of the whole person is cruciformed care. The Crucified One became a brother of the oppressed, despised and abandoned and for this reason this is the location theology must begin.

Our inability to see ourselves in the other causes us to see the other as alien and we throw up walls which makes, once again, sectarianism. As the church abides by the Aristotelian maxim of like seeking after like then we cease looking like the crucified One. Schelling worked from this the "revelation of the opposite:" So God is only revealed as "God" in godless, abandonment by God. Theology of the cross must begin with contradiction:

"God is revealed in the cross of Christ who was abandoned by God. His grace is revealed in sinners," p 27.

This contradiction tells us that a church praxis that doesn't seek the like over the other reflects the crucified One.

Ch. 2:
From the beginning what has set Christianity apart was its association with and foundation upon the the profound horror and godlessness of the cross and the crucified One. The Israelite sees Him as curssed. To the humanist the cross reflects punishment of a slave; a failed revolutionary. Jew and Gentile couldn't stomach the mention of the Crucified in their company. This was not a sign of conquest but of contradiction: God died. That God dies leads us out of the church and to the abandoned; in the church the crucified God is represented between two candles, on Golgatha there were thieves to either side. But the crucified God becomes the brother and liberator of the thieves and despised of the world.

"By claiming that God Himself was on the side of the godless, He incited the devout against Him and was cast out into the godlessness of Golgotha," p 51.

It is only the rejected and crucified One with whom rejected men feel solidarity. In His life and His death Christ always identified with the rejected as one rejected. When we take His cross upon ourselves we are taking His acceptance of His rejection by the Father which in the context of the resurrection His election and Atonement are revealed. This abandonment is His and ours--though watered-down--in our suffering. Thus the cross transcends "example" into solidarity. Moltmann continues this thought in the early churches witness as martyrs and how this was seen as suffering with, not just for, Christ. There's a correspondence in our suffering to His suffering, our being crucified and His, our baptism into His death. I believe this is a red thread through TCG which anchors his concept of "identification."

The mystical co-crucifixion--identification with--looks like "following" Him, which works out to being faith: An existential unity of theory and practice.

The theology of the cross has to distinguish between four points:
1) the apostolic cross of the establishment of the obedience of faith in a world full of idols, demons, fetishistes, and superstitions
2) the cross of the martyrs who bore Bodily witness to the lordship of the Crucified Christ before the rulers of the world.
3) the suffering of love from abandoned, despised and betrayed human beings.
4) the "sufferings of this age" the groaning of the enslaved creation, the apocalyptic sorrow of the Godless world.

Ch. 3:
Moltmann takes a moment here to deal with Christology.

How can a unchangeable God become flesh? Historically the attributes of God do not correspond to the God revealed in Jesus Christ, especially Him on the cross: a stumbling block, a folly.

But what was asked: "is the eternal God-Man in Jesus?" Or "are you he who is to come or should we wait for another?" Maybe when it comes to our Christological questions we are asking the wrong ones. Are we asking about the archetype of humanity or of the inauguration of the Kingdom? This is a Messianic question and that was the critical type of question being asked of Jesus when incarnate.

Moltmann suggests an eschatological Christology where our focus is on the already of the Kingdom as seen in Jesus here in Him incarnate and also forthcoming. This is a Christology which must respond to "but who do you say that I am?" This Christology follows "Christ, the Son of God"--the believing response--to the open, empty tomb. The empty tomb points forward while pointing backwards. As God's "yes" to all of Jesus the one standing (historically or metaphorically) before the tomb reflects on who Jesus was and realize that the coming of the Kingdom of God in Him was the beginning of the last things; He was the "beginning of the end of the age." At the same time the consummation of the end awaits His coming back. This eschatological Christology begins and ends with "behold, I make all things new."

Ch. 4:
The trial of Jesus:
This doesn't mean the trial about Jesus before the Sanhedrian but the struggle for the truth of Gid in which He came forward as a witness, and the trial about Jesus in the judgement of God.

A lot of this chapter ends up down the road of the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith. I've never gotten into this area of speculation. But really the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith have to be seen through the event of the cross. If the Jesus of the sermon on the mount gave ethical direction and was crucified a blasphemer then the Jesus of history is wasted. Trying to hold on to the "prophet" and ethical Jesus without a conclusion after the cross then this is a wasted attempt. For the Jesus of history to matter enough to look at he has to be the Christ of faith.

Moltmann points out an interesting aspect I haven't thought much about in relation to Jesus' trial and execution: the religious punishment for blasphemy was stoning as can be seen in Stephen. Jesus was killed as a Zealot rebel (this was the death of an escaped slave by the state as can be seen in Spartacus). This also speaks to His ransom sayings ("ransom" seems to be a horrible translation). Then Moltmann lists some reasons why Jesus may have been thought to be a Zealot and reasons why he may not have been one. The first reason His being a Zealot caught my eye. The Zealots had a saying at the time: "bring in the Kingdom by violence." Jesus said "until now the Kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force." Both the Zealots and Jesus were proclaiming the coming Kingdom but the Zealots advocated for legalism/law and to topple Ceasar. Jesus advocated for a different form of reign where love of God/other and grace were most important.

"[The Zealots] must have understood Jesus' thoroughly festive way of life as a mockery of their serious purposes," p 141.

There have been many people crucified, so what makes Jesus' death different. While we immediately want to say "resurrection"--and would be correct--Moltmann stays on the cross, so to say, to find his first response, and in that we once again see our red thread: Jesus was abandoned by His Father. Theologically and our proclamation is not just "why have you forsaken me?" but also "why have you forsaken yourself?" This highlights the difference between the concept of God of the Pharisee and the Father Jesus revealed.

"The cross of the Son divides God from God to the utmost degree of enmity and distinction. The resurrection of the Son abandoned by God unites God with God in the most intimate fellowship," p 152.

Ch. 5:
The eschatological trial of Jesus--

"The risen Christ is the historical and crucified Jesus, and vice versa," p 160.

What really raised eyebrows around Jerusalem was not that someone was raised from the dead. What was Scandalous was that condemned, crucified, forsaken and executed man was raised before anyone else. Crucifixion and righteousness dont fit together nor do Crucifixion and resurrection. God raising the crucified shows grace for the graceless as a reflection of who God is. The raising of the Crucified Christ is a statement by God about Jesus for forsaken and abandoned humanity. What does the above look like in a simple statement?:

"The message of new righteousness which eschatological faith brings into the world says that in fact the executioners will not finally triumph over their victims. It also says that in the end the victims will not triumph over their executioners. The one will triumph who first died for the victims and then also for the executioners, and in so doing revealed a new righteousness which breaks through the vicious cycles of hate and vengeance and which from the lost victims and executioners creates a new mankind with a new humanity," p 178.

Christ death on the cross is eschatological in nature, and all "for us" salvific language must be interpreted from the resurrection. His death expresses the significance of His resurrection. The resurrection qualifies the significance of the person of the Crucified Christ. His death "for us" makes revelant His resurrection "before us." Moltmann seems here to gut the concepts of propiation/expiation via "for us/our sin" in favor of "for us" because our resurrection will follow His.

"Through His death the risen Christ introduces the coming reign of God into the godless present by means of representative suffering. He anticipates the coming righteousness of God under the conditions of human injustice in the law of grace and in the Justification of the godless by His death. The countenance of the Christ raised before all the dying is, for these dying, the countenance of the one who was crucified for them," p 185.

God in Christ reconciling for us shows a suffering God for us, a God who died for us, God is on the cross for us; it is in this way that God becomes the Father of the godless a d god-forsaken.

"Taken to its final consequence, that means that God died that we might live. God became the crucified God so that we might become free sons of God," p 192.

Ch. 6:
The Crucified God--
Historically the cross has anchored salvation. Moltmann proposes that we say "yes, and...," what does the cross tell us about God Himself?

An incarnational theology quickly becomes an atonement theology.

"He became the kind of man we do not want to be: An outcast, accursed, crucified. Ecce Homo! Behind the man!," p 205.

Stating that Jesus is the image of the invisible God we are saying that this is God and that God is like this. All of God including His power, glory and humanity have to be seen through His humiliation on the cross. God is not different than the crucified One.

Dealing with philosophical theism Moltmann states that this whole concept of the Crucified God is insane because Divinity, philosophically speaking, can not suffer and die. Theism offers a detached god who doesn't experience what his children experience; he has no comprehension of pain and suffering along with that which mankind needs liberation from. God, the Father of Jesus Christ, is the crucified God and understands our need for liberation from His position on the cross. We do not experience that which He is unfamiliar. He is so familiar with it that the crucified Christ is not just knows our pain but beyond that He is the ground of the New creation, one where death is swallowed up by victory. Philosophical theism/Deism doesn't get anywhere near this celebration.

Moltmann seems to be driving towards the question of God's passibility/impassibility. The philosophical God of Plato and Aristotle are totally impassible, they keep their consistent street cred by not changing and yet fail to be Divine because they can not love. Being the unmoved mover is not a good thing and not what we see revealed in Jesus.

Here, I believe, is where some of the ends will get tied up:

"Anyone who suffers without cause thinks that he has been forsaken by God," p 252.

Moltmann wants us to see the crucified God as the answer to not just our salvation and liberation but he wants us to see theodicy answered here too. The forsaken of mankind was preceeded by the forsaken crucified God. That is the central point in history and in that point we find identification with the crucified One.

"The God of theism is poor. He can not love nor can He suffer," p 253.

Here there is a bit of translation and intention difficulty. "Theism" in Moltmann is "classical theism" in English. The impassible, immutable Divinity does not correspond to the Trinitarian God. The Divinity who doesn't weep with my pain is not one to worship. The "God" who "was in Christ" knows my pain and weeps on my behalf. Christ experiences death and hell not as a substitute but as a representative and liberator "for us." There is no theology after Auschwitz if there were no crucified God. The trinitarian God is not the deistic or Platonic god of classical theism.

Ch. 7:
The psychological liberation of man--
A lot of shrink-talk here.

"The conflict between guilt and anxiety, between guilty liberation and necessary reconciliation, between authority and annihilation, is transfered to God Himself. God allows Himself to be humiliated and crucified in the Son, in order to free the oppressors and the oppressed from oppression and to Openness to them the situation of free, sympathetic humanity," p 307.

Ch. 8:
Ways toward political liberation of mankind--

This chapter shows Moltmann in his most shallow areas: economics and political philosophy (or maybe he isn't shallow here but just willfully, abysmal thought).

A sliding scale: on one end one has all property as personal property and on the other end one has all property as government property. Moltmann is way too close in economics and political philosophy to the latter. His Justification is that the ultimate (the Kingdom come) should have a dialectic relationship with the penultimate (earthly governance). What he misses is that earthly governing is not made up of just Christians. So he's do-gooding is at the same time fleecing the Hindu and atheist. He also seems to miss that government is predicated upon theft via violence. Rather, I suggest, the do-gooding is the job of the church (Kingdom people, like the Kingdom that is to come) which has in recent years been shifted onto government. If you have to use force--especially force by proxy against the unsaved--to do Jesus work then you are doing it horribly wrong. As it is Kingdom people live with non Kingdom people and the only way to have peaceful interaction (human action) therein is "I'll give you two of my Xs for one of your Ys," also known as free market exchange. It's peaceful. Socialism/government demands violence to exist.

The closing message sounds like "Jesus-people, advocate for having an elected proxy steal from Jesus-people and non-Jesus-people to do good with it...in Jesus name!" I love him but when it comes to economic thought and political philosophy he misses the mark.

Mostly a great book.

#JurgenMoltmann #Moltmann #TheCrucifiedGod #TCG #TheologiaCrucis #TheologyOfTheCross #Theology
Profile Image for Aaron West.
169 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2018
Six months ago I set out to read this book after hearing some buzz about it among some theologically-minded friends and acquaintances of mine. It has taken six long months (in which some sabbaticals were taken) due simply to its density and my fickle impatience. It is certainly a scholarly read: many of the words and phrases Moltmann throws around with ease, and in expectation of understanding on the part of the reader, were lost on me. Italicized Latin phrases and theologian names were lurking around every other line.

But no matter, because I found the content of the book to be richly satisfying and thought-provoking. It was originally written in the 70s as part of a trilogy, and I found myself stunned at how applicable it is, even for today's audiences. I suppose Solomon's old ecclesiastical adage holds true: there is nothing new under the sun, after all.

The premise of the book lies heavily on a deeper look at just who and what the crucified Christ is--and what that means for society, churches, and theology today. Moltmann takes readers through a winding maze of examples and propositions to get us to consider a--more complex--set of theses surrounding the historical, trinitarian situation of the crucifixion. Throughout I found myself marking many of its passages and pages with sticky notes, and sadly, I must now return it to the library after a long journey together. If you have grit, and are profoundly interested in theological subjects, please dare to take this one on: it has changed my view of Jesus, and just what occurs in his amazing life, death, and resurrection, forever.

"Humiliation to the point of death on the cross corresponds to God's nature in the contradiction of the abandonment. When the crucified Jesus is called the 'image of the invisible God', the meaning is that this is God, and God is like this. God is not greater than he is in this humiliation. God is not more glorious than he is in this self-surrender. God is not more powerful than he is in this helplessness. God is not more divine than he is in this humanity. The nucleus of everything that Christian theology says about 'God' is to be found in this Christ event. The Christ event on the cross is a God event. And conversely, the God event takes place on the cross of the risen Christ. Here God has not just acted externally, in his unattainable glory and eternity. Here he has acted in himself and has gone on to suffer in himself. Here he himself is love with all his being."
Profile Image for Santiago Iturbide.
27 reviews2 followers
May 23, 2023

Platonische Grundsatz: "Gleiches wird nur von Gleichen anerkannt" Erkennen geschieht am Leitfaden der Analogie und ist dann immer ein Wiedererkennen" Wird der Gleichgrundsatz strikt verstanden, sow wird Gott nur von Gott erkannt. So wird eine Offenbarung im Anderen, das nicht Gott ist, un im Fremden, das nicht göttlich ist, eigentlich unmöglich.

Wenn der Mensch wircklich Gott denkt, so denkt sich Gott im Menschen, anders würde der Mensch nicht Gott, sondern nur ein eigenes Gedankbild gedacht haben.

Röm 8,32: "Christus wurde vom Vater in voller Absicht dem Schicksal des Todes verlassen" Um dem Gedanken im höchsten Schärfe zum Ausdruck zu bringen, könnte man mit den Wörtern der Altkristliche Dogmatik sagen: "die erste Person der Trinität verstößt und vernichtet die zweite...Hier kommt theologie crucis zur Sprache, wie sie radikaler nicht sein kann"

"Begriffe ohne Anschauung sind leer" Die Anschauung des trinitarischen Gottesbegriff ist das Kreuz Jesu. "Anschauungen ohne Begriffe sind blind" Der theologisch Begriff der Anschauung des Gekreuzigstes ist die Trinitätslehere. Das materialprinzip der Trinitätslehre ist das Kreuz Christi.

Im kreuz sind Vater un Sohn in der Verlassenheit aufs tiefste getrennt und zugleich in der Hingabe aufs innigste eins. Man Mußte sagen: Was am Kreuz geschah, war ein Geschehen zwischen Gott und Gott.
Profile Image for Christan Reksa.
136 reviews13 followers
April 19, 2023
This is a book that, for its sheer reputation alone, intimidated me. It is Moltmann's magnum opus, influencing so many pastor-theologians of liberation both in the First World countries & Third World countries. Finally I got the courage & proper willingness to read it this year as my Lent reading.

I was blown away.

Never before I read theological works this dense covering the understanding of God as The Crucified One. Not just Jesus who was crucified, but Crucified God.

Topics of the cross has fascinated me for God knows how long. I feel like this symbol of God-forsakenness and shame deserves deeper understanding instead of just being the "out and proud Christian" symbol to be shown off. Moltmann delivered his point so succinctly, densely, & touching that I could not help but to allow slight tears here & there.

Well-versed in the Frankfurt school of critical theory, Moltmann sees the cross of Christ as the ultimate criticism of the human civilization marred by sin & oppression. Moltmann sees the centrality of the cross of Christ in the Christian faith, not only as an indicator of the true doctrine, but the sole signifier of the true faith.

The cross of Christ criticizes all blind, counterfeit, & superficial faith which did not pay proper attention to the ones that Jesus stands for, the godless, forsaken, marginalized, & downtrodden. The cross of Christ, therefore, is the point in which we move, progress, & learn to see & do what is the deepest longing of God.

The conclusion of this book is what moves me the most, in which he sees how a focus on the crucified God moves us to work toward the already-but-not-yet elimination of sin, law, death, & evil through efforts of solidarity, social justice, democracy, emancipation, in which we learn the true meaning of Christian faith through grace by the Christ crucified.

Reading this takes effort, yet I cannot help but feel edified, because I learned more deeply on how to hope from, ironically, the God-forsaken cross of Christ.

Martin Luther pointed us to the theology of the cross. Moltmann then decided to scream & shout at us to see it.
Profile Image for Michael Kitay-Moore.
6 reviews2 followers
May 25, 2019
Excellent book full of eloquent and profound insights and assertions. It was a bit dry and perhaps even pedantic at some points but that may partly be the translators fault... or perhaps it was my ability (or lack there of) to comprehend his arguments. If this is an area of interest for you I highly recommend it, if not it is a bit of a commitment due to it’s length so maybe not the best book to start with. If your looking for an interesting book that’s a shorter read I would recommend Greg Boyd’s book Cross Vision or perhaps The Day the Revolution began by N.T. Wright.
Profile Image for Gloria.
944 reviews4 followers
March 25, 2018
This is a book of theology. Sometimes, a very very deep book of theology. The subtitle is: The cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology. There are references to "present day" and must be placed in the context of the date of publication: the 1970's.

How does the cross impact Christianity? What does it mean for those not Christians? These are not just questions that come from the book, but are simplified because the author is quite thorough in his analysis. The book is organized into chapters and then parts of chapters have headings with questions the author answers - all laid out in the table of contents. The author combines, criticizes and uses different theological ideas to either supplement his ideas or to distinguish those from his, as well as Freudian psychological ideas and liberation theology which addresses five "vicious circles of death" as well as five ways to combat those vicious cycles.

Quotes from book:
"The cross is not and cannot be loved. Yet only the crucified Christ can bring the freedom which changes the world because it is no longer afraid of death. In his time the crucified Christ was regarded as a scandal and as foolishness. Today, too, it is considered old-fashioned to put him in the centre of Christian faith and of theology. Yet only when men are reminded of him, however untimely this may be, can they be set free from the power of the facts of the present time, and from the law and compulsions of history, and offered a future which will never grow dark again....."(p. 1)

"Christian identity can be understood only as an act of identification with the crucified Christ, to the extent to which one has accepted the proclamation that in him God has identified himself with the godless and those abandoned by God, to whom one belongs oneself." (p. 19)

"The decay of faith and its identity, through a decline into unbelief and a different identity, forms an exact parallel to their decay through a decline into a fearful and defensive faith. Faith is fearful and defensive when it begins to die inwardly, struggling to maintain itself and reaching out for security and guarantees. In so doing, it removes itself from the hand of the one who has promised to maintain it, and its own manipulations bring it to ruin. This pusillanimous faith usually occurs in the form of an orthodoxy which feels threatened and is therefore more rigid than ever. It occurs wherever, in the face of the immorality of the present age, the gospel of creative love for the abandoned is replaced by the law of what is supposed to be Christian morality, and by penal law. He who is of little faith looks for support and protection for his faith, because it is preyed upon by fear. Such a faith tries to protect its 'most sacred things', God, Christ, doctrine and morality, because it clearly no longer believes that these are sufficiently powerful to maintain themselves. When the 'religion of fear' finds its way into the Christian church, those who regard themselves as the most vigilant guardians of the faith do violence to faith and smother it. Instead of confidence and freedom, fearfulness and apathy are found everywhere. This has considerable consequences for the attitudes of the church, faith and theology to the new problems posed by history. 'Why did the church cut itself off from cultural development?' asks R. Rothe, whose messianic passion in the face of the modern age can speak for itself here: I blush to write it down: because it is afraid for faith in Christ. To me, it is not faith in Christ if it can be afraid for itself and for its Christ! To me, this is not to have faith, but to be of little faith. This, however, is the consequence of a lack of faith that the Saviour is the real and effective ruler of the world; and only when this faith is lacking is such fear psychologically possible.
"Christians, churches and theologians who passionately defend true belief, pure doctrine and distinctive Christian morality are at the present day in danger of lapsing into this pusillanimous faith. Then they build a defensive wall round their own little group, and in apocalyptic terms call themselves the 'lttle flock' or the 'faithful remnant,', and abandon the world outside to the godlessness and immorality which they themselves lament. they lament the assimilation of Christianity to the secularized society which has declined since the 'good old days', and bewail the loss of identity of those who in theology and in practice involve themselves in the conflicts of this society and work with others to resolve them. But by this reaction, they themselves are running the risk of a loss of identity by passive assimilation. They accept the increasing isolation of the church as an insignificant sect on the margin of society, and encourage it by their sectarian withdrawal. The symptoms of the increase of this kind of sectarian mentality at the present day include the preservation of tradition without the attempt to found new tradition; biblicism without liberating preaching; increasing unwillingness to undergo new experience with the gospel and faith, and the language of zealotry and militant behaviour in disputes within the church. People boast of their own growing meaninglessness, and the failure of the world to understand as the 'cross' which they have to bear, and they regard their own obstinate lack of courage as bearing the cross." (p. 19-20)
"In this post-Christian, legalistic apocalyptic, the present time becomes the moment of the great decision: the world is lapsing into the spiritual death of atheism, atomic catastrophe, the death of the young from drugs or ecological self-destruction. At the same time, it is the hour in which the true church has to rise up as the visible place of refuge in the disaster: 'Rise up for the final struggle.' It cannot be denied that such visions of the future exist in the New Testament, and that the crises of history may come to such a critical end. But nowhere in the New Testament does the 'end of the world' bring about the second coming of Christ. The New Testament looks forward to the very reverse, that the second coming of Christ will bring the end of destruction and persecution in the world. Anyone who reads the 'signs of the time' with the eyes of his own existential anxiety reads them falsely. If they can be read at all, they can be read by Christians only with the eyes of hope in the future of Christ. Otherwise the apocalyptic interpretations of the age will be like the nihilistic attempt of the 'devils' of Dostoevsky, who want to destroy the world in order to force God to intervene, and who for romantic reason regard chaos itself as creative. But this no longer has anything to do with the cross as the horizon of the world, for this cross is the sign of the unity of love for God and the love with which, according to the Gospel of John (3.16), God 'so loved the world, that he gave his only Son'." (p. 21)

"The cross is the utterly incommeasurable factor in the revelation of God. We have become far too used to it. We have surrounded the scandal of the cross with roses. We have made a theory of salvation out of it. But that is not the cross. That is not the bleakness inherent in it, placed in it by God. Hagel defined the cross: 'God is dead' -- and he no doubt rightly saw that here we are faced by the night of the real, ultimate and inexplicable absence of God, and that before the 'Word of the Cross' we are dependent upon the principle sola fide; dependent upon it as nowhere else. Here we have not the opera Dei, which point to him as the eternal creator, and to his wisdom. Here the faith in creation, the source of all paganism, breaks down. Here this whole philosophy and wisdom is abandoned to folly. Here God is non-God. Here is the triumph of death, the enemy, the non-Church, the lawless State, the blasphemer, the soldiers. Here Satan triumphs over God. Our faith begins at the point where atheists suppose it must be at an end. Our faith begins with the bleakness and power which is the night of the cross, abandonment, temptation and doubt about everything that exists! Our faith must be born where it is abandoned by all tangible reality; it must be born of nothingness, it must taste this nothingness and be given it to taste in a way that no philosophy of nihilism can imagine." (p. 36, quote of quote)

"If faith in the crucified Christ is in contradiction to all conceptions of the righteousness, beauty and morality of man, faith in the 'crucified God' is also a contradiction of everything men have ever conceived, desired and sought to be assured of by the term 'God'. That 'God', the 'supreme being' and the 'supreme good', should be revealed and present in the abandonment of Jesus by God on the cross, is something that it is difficult to desire. What interest can the religious longing for fellowship with God have in the crucifixion of its God, and His powerlessness and abandonment in absolute death? In spite of all the 'roses' which the needs of religion and theological interpretation have draped around the cross, the cross is the really irreligious thing in Christian faith. It is the suffering of God in Christ, rejected and killed in the absence of God, which qualifies Christian faith as faith, and as something different from the projection of man's desire. The modern criticism of religion can attack the whole world of religious Christianity, but not this unreligious cross. There is no pattern for religious projections in the cross. For he who was crucified represents the fundamental and total crucifixion of all religions: the deification of the human heart, the sacralization of certain localities in nature and certain sacred dates and times, the worship of those who hold political power, and their power politics. (p. 37)

"To be radical, of course, means to seize a matter at its roots. More radical Christian faith can only mean committing oneself without reserve to the 'crucified God'. This is dangerous. It does not promise the confirmation of one's own conceptions, hopes and good intentions. It promises first of all the pain of repentance and fundamental change. It offers no recipe for success. But it brings a confrontation with the truth. It is not positive and constructive, but is in the first instance critical and destructive. It does not bring man into a better harmony with himself and his environment, but into a contradiction with himself and his environment. It does not create a home for him and integrate him into society, but makes him 'homeless' and 'rootless', and liberates him in following Christ who was homeless and rootless. The 'religion of the cross' if faith on this basis can ever be so called, does not elevate and edify in the usual sense, but scandalizes; and most of all it scandalizes one's 'co-religionists' in one's own circle. But by this scandal it brings liberation into a world which is not free. For ultimately, in a civilization which is constructed on the principle of achievement and enjoyment, and therefore makes pain and death a private matter, excluded from its public life, so that in the final issue the world must no longer be experienced as offering resistance, there is nothing so unpopular as for the crucified God to be made a present reality through faith. It alienates alienated men, who have come to terms with alienation. And yet this face, with its consequences, is capable of setting men free from their cultural illusions, releasing them from the involvements which blind them, and confronting them with the truth of their existence and their society. Before there can be correspondence and agreements between faith and the surrounding world, there must first be the painful demonstration of truth in the midst of untruth. In this pain we experience reality outside ourselves, which we have not made or thought out for ourselves. The pain arouses a love which can no longer e indifferent, but seeks out its opposite, what is ugly and unworthy of love, in order to love it. This pain breaks down the apathy in which everything is a matter of indifference, because everything one meets is always the same and familiar. (p. 39)

"This mysticism of the passion has discovered a truth about Christ which ought not to be suppressed by being understood in a superficial way. It can be summed up by saying that suffering is overcome by suffering, and wounds are healed by wounds. For the suffering in suffering is the lack of love, and the wounds in wounds are the abandonment, and the powerlessness in pain is unbelief. And therefore the suffering of abandonment is overcome by the suffering of love, which is not afraid of what is sick and ugly, but accepts it and takes it to itself in order to heal it. Through his own abandonment by God, the crucified Christ brings God to those who are abandoned by God. Through his suffering he brings salvation to those who suffer. Through his death he brings eternal life to those who are dying. And therefore the tempted, rejected, suffering and dying Christ came to be the centre of the religion of the oppressed and the piety of the lost...." (p. 46-47)
Profile Image for Stephen Joseph.
Author 1 book2 followers
March 26, 2013
Moltmann has an incredible perspective on Theology and Christology, and as a post-war theologian, he really understands the obstructions and troubles that WWII brought to traditional theology, and his answers to some of the questions that these events pose is really quite stunning.

One of the the things that struck me about this book is Moltmann's redefinition of love. He shifts his perspective from thinking about love as a divinely-given ideal of happiness and joy to a more realistic understanding of love which defines the word more as an opening up of one's self to being wounded. This seems to make sense for the Christian narrative and the concept of God partaking in reality, rather than floating above it like a great tease that has chosen to relinquish its wonderful gifts for some divinely capricious reason. He stresses also that in order to avoid Docetism, it is imperative to understand that God, in Christ, suffered in God's completeness, not just in a small, annexed part. This brings a paradox in which an eternal God suffers and dies, but Moltmann stresses that this paradox, and the criticism that it must bring on itself, is as central to the Christian faith as the cross itself. Hence the sub-title of the book, which seems to suggest that the cross is an inherently self-critical event, which both speaks of a vision of God and yet is abandoned by that very God in the same space, which is fascinating.

Lastly, he ends the book with a holistic interpretation of salvation and the kingdom, which includes liberation on all fronts: psychological, political, etc. This seems to me to make more sense than just thinking about people as spiritual beings with other parts of their lives that are vestigial at best. We are congolmerates, therefore Moltmann understand that in order to be free to be human in one aspect of our life as an individual and as a society, we must bring freedom into every aspect.

I loved this book, and while it was very dense and there were some points where Moltmann quotes untranslated Latin, which went completely over my head, I do think that this is a very improtant work and a must-read for anyone interested in rethinking the cross in light of a world that does not support the assumption of an omnipotent, non-suffering God.
Profile Image for Nathan Marone.
193 reviews5 followers
May 5, 2016
For a very long time I've been dissatisfied with lay understandings of soteriology and how they relate to the death of Christ. It's not that basic propositions like, "Jesus died to save me from my sin" are wrong, but that they have been inadequate in expressing the whole range of cosmic and theological possibilities in the crucifixion. It was with that mindset that I decided to read Moltmann's book. And while I'm not sure that he has given me a complete theology of the cross (partly because he was well over my head at times), I do think he has pointed me in some (hopefully) fruitful directions.

At least as it pertains to soteriology, Moltmann's theology of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus as a Trinitarian event was beautiful to behold. It is important to me to see the central event in Christian thought and history as having to do with more than just my personal salvation, even if that is included in the package. For Moltmann (and I hope I'm understanding him correctly), the death and resurrection of Christ is the ultimate expression of who God is. Most importantly, he contrasts the crucified God with the theist vision of God as a static being of philosophy. For Moltmann, the Trinitarian God is the God who is capable of suffering, capable of compassion, can be moved to action. The cross and the resurrection, then, are ultimate expressions of God's righteousness - that the lowliest man, cast out as a political rebel, a religious blasphemer, and forsaken by God himself, could be raised from the dead to new life. This isn't a merely salvific action, but a true expression of the justice and judgement of God, a realization of all that Jesus taught.

This is what we are to identify ourselves with - a suffering, outcast God.

I'll need to mull a lot of things over before coming to any final stance on The Crucified God, but for now it is one of the loveliest, most shocking books of theology I've ever read. And the weird thing is that Moltmann never seems like he's saying anything really new or that most Christians don't already know implicitly. By focusing my thought away from personal salvation to broader cosmic realities, Moltmann has made soteriology and the theology of the cross liberating and new again.
715 reviews
October 7, 2016
The theology Moltmann proposes, that the Trinity is revealed primarily in the crucified Christ, is the most startling theology I have read in a long time. What I liked about his claim is that it provides an ontological base for the suffering of God in love and an an explanation for the suffering in the world.

This claim must be seen in the perspective of an eschatological view, that is, a reading from the end to the beginning.
I liked that Moltmann demolished the theistic god (and so the atheistic god) projected out of man's need, and set the Jewish theology of God in the context of Covenant of God with Israel. He moves then to the revelation of the Trinity, understood in the sense of the relationships of persons in a love which is expressed for the all the godforsaken and the godless in the event of the Death and Resurrection in God's inner life.
From that vantage point, the Gospels (the ministry of Jesus) are seen as the account of the early disciples of Jesus explaining who He is from the vantage point of their experience of the Resurrection, and the Spirit of God as the one who has and who progressively in Time unites all being in one communion.

This was my introduction to the work of Moltmann's post Holocaust, post Cold War theology. I hope to read more of his work. I need more explanation. He offers a dynamic concept of God that seems in many respects attuned to our time.
Profile Image for E..
Author 1 book22 followers
March 10, 2012
Sickness in the household has given me the time to complete Moltmann's masterwork. This is a stunning theological achievement. While dense it is eloquent and passionate and engaging.

It was a more thoroughly comprehensive and systematic work than I expected -- the penultimate chapter on Freud and the final chapter on how the church should be engaged politically.

I found myself agreeing throughout, rather than being persuaded, as this is one of those books that was so influential that it re-shaped subsequent theology. So, despite not having read it before, I already live and work within the world it shaped.

Despite wanting to read it for some time, I was finally compelled to as our adult education team wants me to teach a class on atonement later this year. Moltmann seems to lay the groundwork for the subsequent transitions in atonement theology and decades of critique and creativity which have lifted us beyond the traditional models from the middle ages. As I come to this work after having read works critical aspects of its approach, such as Proverbs of Ashes, I could not agree on all points. But the book can enter a lively conversation with those later works.

I have a few more books to read before I began to more seriously put together the curriculum for the class. I am very much looking forward to it.
Profile Image for Dwight Davis.
604 reviews35 followers
September 20, 2016
Is it possible for a 40 year old book to be a breath of fresh air? Because this was such a breath of fresh air for me.

Moltmann articulates a theology of the cross that simultaneously takes orthodoxy and the tradition seriously while breaking new ground. Of utmost concern for Moltmann is the cross as that which liberates humanity from evil and oppression and enables us to stand in solidarity with the outcast and downtrodden. The godforsaken cross empowers the godforsaken in society. Such a simple, beautiful idea.

My main question is whether the cross saves us from some ontological reality or if it is primarily liberation from evil circumstances. This was somewhat unclear in this work, but may be addressed in one of Moltmann's many other writings.

This is the kind of book that I'm disappointed I had to read so quickly for class (I had to read the entire thing in just 5 days). I look forward to returning to it again and again and spending much more time in it's company.
Profile Image for Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos.
260 reviews65 followers
September 11, 2019
Without a doubt one of the single most important works in theology of the 20th Century. It is indispensable for anyone who claims they are well read on the subject. It is part of the sea change in the discipline of theology which occurred in the last century, where Christian thinking began to shift from "the problem of the non-believer" to "the problem of the non-human". Moltmann, utilizing both his theological perspective focused on the eschaton and a re-approrpiation of the intricacies of the Trinity, beautifully elucidates the place of Jesus Christ and His crucifixion in relation to human suffering and people who are dehumanized by their environment, the systems they inhabit, and the politics of their nation. He then explores many of the political ramifications entailed. This is the kind of book which changes the reader.
Profile Image for Mauberley.
425 reviews
July 27, 2016
This book forces readers to re-consider why a 'theology of the cross' is at the heart of Christian worship and thought. Moltmann looks at the Crucified God from many different angles: the historical, the eschatological, the Trinitarian, the psychological, and the political and he does not shy away from confronting the reader and provoking her engagement. This is not an easy book to read but with some basic theological understanding and a commitment by the reader to follow Moltmann's arguments, the rewards are rich.
Profile Image for Tim.
131 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2016
After three years, I've finally finished this book. I've restarted it three or four times. The Crucified God is an amazing theological statement about the work of the cross of Jesus Christ and is a must read for serious theologians. The only critique I have is the occasional tendency of Moltmann to be repetitive , which is only frustrating due to the depth of the text. Moltmann is an amazing theologian and I am very glad I read what some have called his greatest work in, "The Crucified God."
Profile Image for Richard Wright.
66 reviews4 followers
July 6, 2012
Changed me. Love his books and his story. I read this book for a Soteriology course. Maybe the group discussion helped. As my professor said, just read the 6th chapter and save yourself some time. Don't hate on me if it was the 5th chapter!
Profile Image for Cole Brown.
Author 30 books73 followers
May 9, 2017
Filled with wonderful theological insights but much of the book is outdated (this is obviously not the author's fault). It is also an unnecessarily dry read, as theology -- especially the theology of the cross -- can read much differently.
Profile Image for Mitch Mallary.
38 reviews4 followers
July 8, 2016
Moltmann's favorite book he wrote has become my favorite book I've read. This book ought to be read annually by anyone who seeks to gaze upon the cross and discover its liberating implications.
Profile Image for Andrew.
462 reviews11 followers
April 21, 2020
I'm sometimes accused of reading theology books. And now, at last, with the reading of Moltmann (a real proper theological legend) I can claim to stand guilty as charged.

Also, the tiny text in the book meant that the reading glasses sold to me unnecessarily by Specsavers came in handy. I now call them my theology reading glasses... they look a bit like something Karl Barth might have worn.

There were other intellectual benefits too, beyond these two extraneous gifts... intellectual and faith-informing. This is a thorough-going exploration of the scandal of the cross in which suffering and death take place within the Trinity... lest we forget the magnitude and implications of that event (we usually do).

While there were a number of passages where I zoned out (either lost in page-long paragraphs, the world of theology or just by virtue of limited attention span), I found the book to be often existentially compelling and interested in the context of the contemporary world.

Mercifully, the long chapters are broken up by subheadings. I read the book for Lent and, by my count, there are about 40ish sections, making it ideal (with commitment) for daily reading in that season. I didn't quite manage the daily thing, but the book provided a wonderfully apt leitmotif for the Lenten journey.

Essentially it's about God's human suffering. Apparent abstractions notwithstanding, it's existentially grounded, always tending towards the outcomes for the human condition of a God who has suffered. The idea of the crucified God interrogates religion, interrogates politics, interrogates apathy in turning towards suffering, sympathy and love. For Moltmann, thoughts about this began in the carnage of post-WW2 Germany and his own experiences as a prisoner of war.

I spied from a long way out that the second to last chapter was going to address psychological implications, and was looking forward to it. In the end it was only an engagement with Freud. I'm more used to Christian books engaging with Jung or sometimes Frankl. Moltmann's engagement with Freud reaches some fascinating conclusions and is even somewhat useful, but a limited thread in the larger psychological picture; though it's true that Freud was casting a long shadow over 20th century thinking, even in the early 1970s when the book was first written.

The final chapter is Moltmann's excursion into the political realm. It's easy to see why the book found a home with Latin American liberation movements. The preface to the 40th anniversary edition tells the story of a blood soaked copy of El Dios Crucificado (the Crucified God in Spanish) that has become a memorial after it fell from a shelf and landed beside the body of a Jesuit father named Ramon Moreno when he was murdered in 1989 by government soldiers in San Salvador. So that's theology at the coalface... not to mention the things Moltmann wrote about ecology that are now more pressing and salient than when he wrote them over 40 years ago.

The book ends with the summarising assertion that identifications with the crucified and risen God appear in thought and everyday life sacramentally - symbolic but embodied realities... carrying on the real presence of God in human history and into future hope. A lovely ending.
Profile Image for Jeremy Garber.
259 reviews
June 21, 2019
In his first major book after Theology of Hope, Moltmann refutes the charge that his work is the hopelessly naïve product of a privileged European male. Instead, he provides a thorough theological construction of what Christian theology must look like if we begin from the reality of God in Jesus hanging on the cross. Moltmann refuses to romanticize or ignore the cross, forcing the believer to look at its pain and its horror straight on – and further on, to explore what it means that the God of the Universe hangs there as well.

Although Moltmann is writing for the 1970s, almost all of what he says is relevant for the struggles of the 21st century Christian church. He critically examines both reactive theologies (theologies of anxiety) and theologies that seek to be “relevant to society” at the cost of their Christian identity (theologies of accommodation). He boldly proclaims, “Christian identity can be understood only as an act of identification with the crucified Christ, to the extent to which one has accepted the proclamation that in him God has identified himself with the godless and those abandoned by God, to whom one belongs oneself.” In Chapter 2, he contrasts the cross of the crucified God with its more common interpretations. Moltmann rejects Goethe’s Romantic cross adorned with roses. He also rejects the interpretation of the cross as a sacrifice to God (“His death is not a sacrifice which can be repeated or transferred. He has finally risen from the death which he died once for all, as Paul emphasizes again, and ‘will never die again’ (Rom. 6:9), in either a bloody or an unbloody way.”) On the other hand, he observes how identification with Christ’s suffering is a stumbling block for the privileged but a way to God for the oppressed. Ultimately, for Moltmann, the crucified Christ is a critical principle for the Christian church and theology alike. He points out that the doctrine of two natures comes from a belief in the metaphysical unchanging God – not the God of the Bible – and thus Christianity is neither theist nor atheist. Finally, Moltmann engages the theological implications of a God who is truly crucified in the Trinity for our theology of God, our anthropology, and for a critical engagement with the world (including a plea for democratic socialism!).

It is no secret that Moltmann is one of my favorite theologians of the 20th century, still absolutely relevant for the 21st. (Except for maybe all of that dialogue with Freud, we’re past that now.) As I continue to work through his volumes, I am struck anew at how he rigorously sticks to the biblical text and comes away with an unwavering commitment to the poor and the marginalized and a creative challenge of love to the powerful oppressor. In this 1974 volume (which was written in German even before that), he mentions the demons of racism, of capitalist greed, of nationalism, and of environmental destruction. Moltmann was a theologian before his time – and perhaps before ours.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 82 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.