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The Spirituality of the Cross

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  480 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
The author uses his own spiritual experience as a backdrop to examine what led him to a relationship with God that was rooted and anchored in the Gospel.
Paperback, 127 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Concordia Publishing House (first published January 1st 1999)
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May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Book Evaluation by Rev. Dan Krueger © May, 2013
The Spirituality of the Cross
by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

Veith begins by evaluating the methods and pitfalls of three paths to God, or “three kinds of spiritual aspiration” (p. 17) observed by an Adolf Köberle (1898-1990). Wikipedia identifies Köberle as a German theologian best known for his work: “The Quest for Holiness: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Investigation.” The three paths to God identified by Köberle are moralism, speculation,
Sarah Baughman
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent resource for anyone looking for "more" to life. I read it in college, and again shortly after my second child was born.

Child #2 was an eater, and wanted to nurse multiple times through the night, and found myself falling asleep while nursing. One night I woke up, holding him, nursing, and had no memory of waking, picking him up from the bassinet, or beginning to nurse. (Bear with me, there's a point related to the book.) I decided that I needed to read something, to make su
Mary Moerbe
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Spirituality of the Cross is an excellent book by Gene Edward Veith. Perhaps my favorite of his (though lesser known gems include The Gift of Art: The Place of the Arts in Scripture and Loving God with All Your Mind: Thinking as a Christian in the Postmodern World) . Spirituality of the Cross conveys both content and vernacular language with which to communicate theological substance, but, better yet, it is so well-written! I reread it yesterday, and I still marvel. It is inspirational to me ...more
Insightful and succinct. Amazing from start to finish. Highly recommended!

It's not comprehensive by any means, but Veith does a great job of packing in many standard Lutheran beliefs into a short space. I love how he emphasizes that Lutherans are both very "evangelical" and very "Catholic" -- and that's a good thing!

There's a great list of book resources at the back. I also really liked a separate article he puts at the end: "Evangelical Catholics and Confessional Evangelicals: The Ecumenical Po
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Veith knows Lutheranism and I found this particularly invigorating because he hasn't been a Lutheran all his life. He's studied it and found depth and meaning in it. Some of his wording is quite theological and as your average lay person may not know some of these words I think you can still gain so much perspective from his book. If you want to know what a true Lutheran is, read this book. Even as a life long Lutheran I learned so much that I didn't know about wh ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am Reformed but have met several Lutheran friends over the past few years. I found that most of what I thought I knew about their theology was wrong. This book is a very good introduction to Lutheranism and while I don't necessarily agree with all of Veith's position, this helped me to understand them better. I found the sections on "vocation" to be very helpful to me personally.
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lori by: Cheryl Wichtendahl
Some of it was over my head with language. But a VERY good book about religion esp the Lutheran religion. Very nice insight even I learned from it! If your checking out the Lutheran religion this would be a good read.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This work does more to whet the appetite for Lutheranism than satisfy it, which is also its stated goal.
Good, brief overview of key Lutheran concepts, from a Missouri-Synod Lutheran perspective.
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
A great introduction to Lutheranism. Veith discusses Lutheran theology, but centers it in a discussion of how the cross should affect our approach to both church and life.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ricky Beckett
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Overall a very good book for a basic understanding of Lutheranism, and I understand that it barely scratches the surface of Lutheranism. However, as a non-denominational Christian, I find a few things rather unsettling. In his conclusion Veith writes, " is impossible to be Lutheran, really, without the church" (pg. 108). Sure, that may be true, but it is also impossible to be CHRISTIAN without the church. It seems to me that throughout his book Lutherans are completely set apart from all ot ...more
Trudy Pomerantz
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok

A book in a similar vein to Peter Gillquist's Becoming Orthodox. While slightly more persuasive, probably because I have more sympathy for Lutheranism than Orthodoxy, it still left me unmoved in my position in considering myself reformed rather than Lutheran.

His initial position was from the godly behaviour that he observed in his first congregation, ergo Lutheran doctrine must be correct. I, also,was a Lutheran for a couple of years and was in the unfortunate position of having to observe Chr
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great overview of Lutheran teaching in relation to its sole focus on Christ and His work and what God accomplishes for us. I particularly enjoyed the sections on how God works in our everyday life and vocations as well as living in a world that is made up of two parts the secular and spiritual and how as Christians we need to be living in both in our life and service to God and others. Great insights and a clear way of explaining teachings and ideas.
Ending quote: "A spirituality in which God
Jim B
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
An excellent, easy to read book that captures Lutheran spirituality -- I felt as though Vieth recreates what it is to be Lutheran in every way he addressed. He gives a good explanation to those Christians who are not Lutheran and writes in a manner that winsome and not polemic. Among topics covered: Justification (sin and grace), the Means of Grace, Theology of the Cross, Vocation, and the Two Kingdoms. Because Vieth is an adult convert to confessional Lutheranism, he writes in a fresh style, wi ...more
Craig Toerpe
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as part of our Lay Teacher program at church, and our discussion was always led by a pastor, and I am glad it was done that way. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is not an easy read, even for a life-long Lutheran. There are too many spots in which one could just read over the words, and not find nor tie the meaning behind the words to one's faith. One of the most fascinating discussions would be the on Vocation. As those who have faith, we are called to live out our f ...more
Teri Reck
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very well articulated book that explains spirituality from a Lutheran perspective. Lutherans have a profound understanding of Law and Gospel--the Law which shows us our sinfulness and our need for a savior, and the Gospel which proclaims the good news that Jesus atoned for all of our sins and made us right with God. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is exploring spirituality.

I just re-read this book to share it with my coworkers during a group devotional time. Again, it is a
Sheryl Tribble
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I tend to think of myself as Christian first, Lutheran second, and I found myself regularly grumbling about Veith characterizing something as "Lutheran" that I consider "Christian." He also claims that those in the Calvinist/Reformed tradition believe in double predestination, which I know is not necessarily the case, since most of the Reformed authors I have read don't believe that.

On the whole, I very much enjoyed this book for what it is -- a quick, easy read on the foundations of basic Luth
Robby Trione
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book addressed questions that I have recently faced. Like how should a Christian engage with the world. There is a chapter that focuses on the two kingdoms--church and government. This discussion seemed relevant especially with the current debate over President Trump's executive order that pauses the flow of immigrants and refugees. The author discusses the differences between the theology of glory and the theology of the cross. He discusses vocation and how it is tied to the theology of th ...more
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference-study
When I first started this little book, I was not overly impressed as I found it to be a good summary of the doctrinal practices of Lutheran Church. But as I read on, I was actually delighted and suprised at the insightfulness and depth of understanding. There were many little tid bits that left me thinking and chewing on, exactly what this book should be doing.

At first I was only going to give this book three stars, but after reading it from cover to cover, I had to give it four stars for the d
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love anything written by Veith as he is one of my three favorite non-fiction authors. I have read this particular book now for the second time and came out convinced again that I am secretly a Reformed Lutheran. If only they didn't have an erroneous view of the sacraments...
Jim Gilmour
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a straightforward and uncomplicated read and is a great starting place for anyone who has begun to investigate confessional lutheranism. But it is not just an overview of this stream of Christianity, along the way it touches on some of the very important distinctives that shape Lutheran theology and practice. As a non-Lutheran I can say that this book has been both enjoyable and in many ways refreshing and has certainly increased the attractiveness of confessional Lutheranism to me ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-christian
Next to the Small Catechism Dr. Veith's book is considered, for good reason, one of the most important expositions of orthodox Christian spirituality and overviews of confessional Lutheranism. It is valued for its brevity, clarity, and honesty in accomplishing its goal.

If you are curious what the true doctrine of the Church is as conceived by Christ and given over to the first apostles, are looking for a primer on Lutheranism, and/or just want a refresher in what the Christian is called to belie
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the best book I've read for understanding Lutheran Theology and Worship. A study guide is available from Rev. Prof. John Pless at the Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. You might not like this book if you go to church to be entertained. You might not like this book if you don't approach God as a beggar, with hat in hand. You won't like this book if Christ and Him crucified for you isn't a major part of your pastor's sermons. If I haven't scared you away by now, do your ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great introduction to Lutheran theology, which I must say has brought me a peace I couldn't find in evangelicalism. Its the emphasis on the Sacraments as means of grace, which creates faith in the person who receives them. I don't have to look within to make sure I truly have faith, that I have truly repented. The Gospel, as Luther says, is entirely outside of us. And there is the truth that the Christian life isn't about "victory"; its about failure; failure then being lifted up by the God wh ...more
6/27/13 finished book - have so much to say about it and will come back to do so. I highlighted a bunch of quotes I'll put in this review later. For now: GET THE BOOK and read it if you are a Christian. You'll love it! If you're not a Christian, still read it - it helps make sense of the stupidity of what tv evangelists say Christianity is (is is not Christianity) and what true Christianity is according to the Bible.
Jeremiah Gumm
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in a Christianity that has substance
Absolutely excellent book that lays out the core teachings of confessional Lutheranism in clear English style that can be easily grasped by layperson and clergy alike. I enjoyed this edition far more than the last edition. The revised edition is worth the cost simply for the expanded discussion of vocation and the theology of the cross. We need more writing like this in our post-modern age as we express ancient Biblical truth to a new generation.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a brief, outstanding introduction to conservative Christianity along with some of the great paradigms of Lutheranism. If everyone could see the world through these paradigms such as vocation and the two Kingdoms and Law and Gospel, things would go so much smoother and there would be less misunderstanding. This is the first version of the book. There has since been a revised edition and I would expect it would be at least as good.
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tend to reread this every few years. It's worth my time to do so this regularly.

For starters, it is encouraging. It is so refreshing to reread how much effort GOD HIMSELF has put into our salvation, since the "to do list version of Christianity" is so popular.

It reminds me that "my neighbor" needs my help.

It invites me to revel in the treasures dispensed in GOD'S WORD preached and the Sacraments (God's Word means visible).
James Fearn
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Every Lutheran should read this book. If you want to become a Lutheran you should read this book. If you know someone that is a Lutheran and want to know why they are a Lutheran you should read this book.

Great handling of the paradoxes of the Christian Religion present in Lutheran Theology, especially on the two kingdoms. All topics are explained so well resulting in leaving little confusion about where fallen man stands, namely at the mercy of Christ.
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Gene Edward Veith Jr., is the Culture Editor of WORLD MAGAZINE. He was formerly Professor of English at Concordia University Wisconsin, where he has also served as Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals, and God ...more
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“Human sin and God’s grace are the two poles of Lutheran spirituality. To be sure, these are intrinsic to all of Christianity, but in Lutheranism they are both heightened. They are resolved in the principle by which, it is said, the church stands or falls: justification by grace through faith.” 0 likes
“Instead of insisting that human beings attain perfection, Lutheran spirituality begins by facing up to imperfection. We cannot perfect our conduct, try as we might. We cannot understand God through our own intellects. We cannot become one with God. Instead of human beings having to do these things, Lutheran spirituality teaches that God does them for us—He becomes one with us in Jesus Christ; He reveals Himself to our feeble understandings by His Word; He forgives our conduct and, in Christ, lives the perfect life for us.” 0 likes
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