Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross

Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross

Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross

Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross

Excerpt

In an extraordinarily self-revealing remark, Paul makes the following claim as he writes to the Corinthian church he had founded:

I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
(1 Cor. 2:2)

The Greek word translated "and" may be better rendered "even" or "that is" in this context, yielding the following translation:

I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ — that is, Jesus
Christ crucified. (1 Cor. 2:2)

In context, "to know" means something like "to experience and to announce in word and deed." This is a startling claim from Paul; he seems narrowly focused on Christ's cross, yet he asserts that this narrow vision is comprehensive, sufficient both during the time of his original presence among the Corinthians and again, it is implied, during the time of his presence by proxy — his pastoral correspondence.

In his magisterial work of a generation ago, On Being a Christian, Hans Küng said this of Paul's cross-centered focus:

Paul succeeded more clearly than anyone in expressing what is the ultimately distinguishing feature of Christianity.… The distinguishing feature of Chris
tianity as opposed to the ancient world religions and the modern
humanisms … is quite literally according to Paul "this Jesus Christ, Jesus
Christ crucified."

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