The Reformed Reader Turns Fifteen: An Anniversary Post

Last week I saw a note here on WordPress that the Reformed Reader blog is fifteen years old this month. Sure enough, looking back, I saw that we started the blog up in September of 2007. In the big picture of the Christian life a blog is pretty insignificant. But still, we’re thankful to the readers who have read the posts and sent encouraging feedback. By way of reminder, the blog is not meant to be a place of debate and dissension. Instead, its purpose is to challenge, encourage, and edify Christians with great quotes from various books. Thanks again for reading; we pray you’ve been blessed by the Christian truths we’ve shared on this blog.

For the fifteenth anniversary I wanted to re-blog one of the first posts we published here. This post made me think about the value of good, lasting solid Christian books. I still have the book quoted below and I still reference it year to year.

Recently I was involved in consoling close friends as they faced the terrible suffering and death of their son.  After Scripture, the first book I picked up was Gerhard Forde’s On Being a Theologian of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997).  In this book, the great Lutheran theologian discusses the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, which found Martin Luther explaining and defending his “new” theology in (you guessed it) Heidelberg, Germany.  Luther wrote a set of theses for this disputation, which contain utterly profound truths that capture the heartbeat of Luther and in turn, the Reformation.

Theses 20 and 21(b) contain perhaps the weightiest truths of all of Luther’s writings:

“That person deserves to be called a theologian [read: true Christian] …who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God through suffering and the cross.  A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is” (pp. 77, 81).

Forde comments well:

“God refuses to be seen in any other way, both for our protection and to put down the theologian of glory in us…The cross therefore is actually intended to destroy the sight of the theologian of glory.  In the cross God actively hides himself.  God simply refuses to be known in any other ways” (p. 79).

Here’s one more excellent quote from Forde:

“We suffer because we don’t like it.  We don’t like to be put out of control.  It means that we are rendered totally passive by the divine operation through the cross and resurrection of Jesus” (emphasis his) (p. 87).

To quote a friend on this topic and book, “It is beautiful.  Luther was a brilliant rhetorician and preacher of Christ.”  I agree.

The above quotes are found in Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015