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Cross and Resurrection

God's Wonder and Mystery

by Klaus Schwarzwäller; translated by Ken Sundet Jones and Mark C. Mattes

Publication Year: 2012

German theologian, Klaus Schwarzwäller reclaims Christ's cross and resurrection as God's wonder and mystery. He connects with art, history, contemporary culture, and especially scripture in presenting a trenchant analysis of the modes of power and production that have undergirded both society and the church since the Enlightenment.

The church in the present era comes under the power of the Enlightenment's quest for truth in the measurable, reproducible, and rational. The proof of the Spirit’s power thus comes to depend on the criteria of reason and theory, rather than on the Spirit’s work in the reality of daily life.

When the church and theology operate in this way, the cross and resurrection become something that requires our management, manipulation, or expert interpretation. Thus, the church and theology wind up existing for their own ends, and freedom and faith are replaced with brutal indifference and control.

The truth of the gospel is that on the cross Christ bore the brunt of power and production that could not bear his utter devotion to God and care for the powerless. The cross excludes our control and the power of the resurrection ensures that the negativity of human life borne on the cross will be overcome.

Schwarzwäller calls the church and theologians to relinquish both their conformity to society and the indifference that power and production create and instead focus on tending to God’s word so that the cross and resurrection are again revealed as God’s wonder and mystery.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Series: Facets


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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Preface to the English Edition

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pp. vii-viii

The high quality of Ken Jones’s and Mark Mattes’s sensitive translation has made me fully aware of the difference of the horizons not only between the languages but also between the situations and the mindsets for German- and English-speaking audiences. ...

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pp. ix-xii

The Stuttgart Hospitalhof was the site for the exhibit “The Cross as a Sign” from June 8 to 14, 1992. The invitation to deliver an address on the cross and resurrection in connection with the exhibit provided a chance for me to view the artwork in advance.1 I will never forget that summer day: ...

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1. Cross, Resurrection, and Truth

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pp. 1-9

The cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the heart and soul of the Christian faith. From the beginning, Christianity has confessed them not only as the ground of its faith but also as upheld in this same faith and answerable to it: the cross and resurrection of Christ are absolutely God’s work of salvation. ...

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2. The Essence of the Cross and Resurrection

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pp. 10-24

If the innermost essence of the Christian faith is summed up in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then the character of this faith is to be regarded as mystery and wonder—the mystery of the holy and wonder at those things not bound by our laws and possibilities. ...

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3. Characteristics of Our Era

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pp. 25-39

What follows is not a detailed theory or even a sketch of the present era, not primarily because of a lack of competence in the topic, but due to a reason connected to the era itself, the conditions of so-called postmodernity. If we were to review the relevant book titles of the last few decades, one thing could not be ignored: ...

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4. Cross and Resurrection from the Perspective of Power

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pp. 40-51

If we are going to take up the cross and resurrection from this perspective and establish any affinity with it, then we cannot simply assume that Jesus Christ in his cross and resurrection meshes with a reality, negatively seen, like a lid on a cooking pot. ...

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5. Cross and Resurrection from the Perspective of Powerlessness

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pp. 52-64

We can now take up the cross and resurrection from the perspective of the second characteristic of our age: powerlessness. As we recall, we experience powerlessness not only as being surrendered to powers and productivity but also at the same time as a paradoxical shadow of power. ...

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6. Cross and Resurrection from the Perspective of Brutal Indifference

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pp. 65-73

In spite of significant differences between then and now, by referring directly to the New Testament we can connect with the third characteristic of our time. Both similarities and differences come to the fore when we take a look at the Gospels. ...

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7. Cross and Resurrection as Mystery and Wonder

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pp. 74-90

Remember my mention of a cross in the Stuttgart exhibit fashioned by Jo Schöpfer from slabs of concrete? Production and power are broken on the cross as though on a concrete wall. Because of the cross, powerlessness and weakness are exposed like a naked wall. ...

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8. On the Loss of Wonder and Mystery

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pp. 91-102

One pays homage to wonders and bows before mysteries. But this has become foreign to us. Because we are used to being courted as consumers, we know that every possible power manipulates us. After a while, we either close ourselves off from it in mistrust or react idiosyncratically to every expectation ...

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9. Sin and Justification

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pp. 103-112

When we “tend to the word,” we butt up against the previously cited formula: “[Jesus] was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). Because both come from a context that no longer seems to speak to us today, the words sin and righteousness have become foreign to us. ...

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10. God’s Untimeliness

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pp. 113-124

We hardly know what God’s wonder and mystery mean anymore. What is worse, God’s wonder and mystery are not only lost but also stand at such cross-purposes to the present (including theology and the church) that we can no longer relate to them. We can see this by looking at this parable: ...

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11. The Language of Cross and Resurrection

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pp. 125-140

Based on what has been said, we must deal with the language of truth, about which we have become uncertain. In part, this uncertainty is due to the erosion of the word in the present Babel over language. It is clear that our world has become fragmented into countless disconnected worlds, each with its own jargon. ...

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12. Open Horizons

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pp. 141-150

Even if church adjudicators sometimes refer to it internally, the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ have ceased to be their language. To a great extent, it has become a foreign language, far from a language of trust-filled devotion to God, to God’s wonder and mystery. ...


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pp. 151-164

E-ISBN-13: 9781451412628
E-ISBN-10: 1451412622
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698829
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698827

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Facets