Protest Hope

In my previous post I shared a clip from the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Jürgen Moltmann, where he is asked about whether atheists might be “closer to God than most theists”. Here Moltmann is asked about his concept of “protest hope”, in contrast with the “protest atheism” of his previous answer. Moltmann explains how he interprets “to wait and to hasten” (2 Pet 3:13) as “to resist and to anticipate” the coming kingdom of God. The churches must not only pray but “pray and watch”, which in his view should involve direct resistance against injustice in the world, including capital punishment, for, “after the capital punishment that Jesus suffered, there can be… no justification for capital punishment.”

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Atheism and Theism Are Outside of the Trinity

I’m in a blog series on The Crucified God by Jürgen Moltmann. In a couple of my previous posts I’ve included clips from the 2009 Emergent Village Conversation with Moltmann. This is another one, where Moltmann made a statement that has stuck with me since I first listened to this recording: “Atheism and theism are outside of the Trinity”.

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The Blood of the Martyrs

In the “Preface to the Paperback Edition” of The Crucified God, Moltmann reflects a bit on the reception of this work, some 18 years after its original publication. He highlights in particular its positive influence in Latin American theology (not the sort of thing you expect to hear from a German Reformed theologian!), particularly in the work of Jon Sobrino who by that time had written his own christology. But Sobrino’s work was not without consequences, as Moltmann describes with this heartbreaking story (quoted below). As this illustrates, when worked out in the real world, The Crucified God is anything other than an abstract philosophical “armchair” theology (though it certainly contains a fair amount of theological reflection!). To orient yourself around the cross of Christ is to put yourself on the side of the oppressed and the forsaken. And in some parts of the world, this means to put yourself in grave danger:

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How does the suffering God give us hope?

This week I’ve been expanding on how Moltmann’s book The Crucified God calls us to rethink everything in light of the revelation of God we see in the cross of Christ. I introduced this concept here and expanded specifically how this relates to Moltmann’s understanding of omnipotence and divine weakness (with a little help from Barth and Bonhoeffer) here.

Below is another audio clip from the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Jürgen Moltmann, where he answers the follow up question of “how does the suffering God give us hope?”

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The Weakness of God

“God lets himself be pushed out of the world on the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us and helps us. Matt 8.17 makes it quite clear that Christ helps us, not by virtue of his omnipotence, but by virtue of his weakness and suffering…. Only the suffering God can help… That is a reversal of what the religious man expects from God. Man is summoned to share in God’s sufferings at the hands of a godless world.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as quoted by Moltmann in CG, p. 47)

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New Jürgen Moltmann Video (At Claremont)

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I could be described as a bit of a “moltmanniac”. So I was a bit disappointed to discover (too late) that Moltmann had a speaking engagement in the United States last week. Not that I could afford a trip to California for a philosophy of religion conference…but still! Continue reading New Jürgen Moltmann Video (At Claremont)

Crucified God: An Invitation to Rethinking

Moltmann’s basic thesis in The Crucified God is that the cross is both the “foundation and criticism” of Christian theology. It is the basis for our message and existence, but at the same time calls our message and existence into question. All of Christian theology, and all of Christian life, is essentially an answer to the open question with which Jesus died: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The very identity of the church is at stake: “Whether or not Christianity, in an alienated, divided and oppressive society, itself becomes alienated, divided and an accomplice of oppression, is ultimately decided only by whether the crucified Christ is a stranger to it or the Lord who determines the form of its existence.” (p. 3) Strong words! I fear that more often than not the crucified Christ is stranger and not Lord in popular Christianity, where the radical implications of Christ crucified are far from realized (I don’t mean this as a sweeping judgment on other Christians; I’m talking about my own life!)

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