THE THEOLOGY OF
IN THE Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, Luther describes the essence of true theology as theology of the cross [theologia cruris]. The opposite of this is the theology of glory [theologia gloriaey]1.
Luther's basic statements on the theology of the cross also indicate the contrast between these two types of theology: “That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as if it were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened. He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.”2
In order to understand these theses, one must keep Exodus 33:18 ff. and Romans 1:20 ff. in mind; for Luther's concepts are taken from these two passages. In Exodus 33, Moses asks, “Show me thy glory.” God answers, “You cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.” Instead of this, God places Moses in a cleft of the rock and holds His hand before him until His glory has passed by. Then God takes away his hand and Moses sees God's back, but not his face full of glory.
Luther's characterization of false theology is taken from Romans 1:20.3 He urges men to turn away from the kind of theology there described. In doing so he uses Paul's words in I Corinthians 1:21 ff.: “For since in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” The theology described in Ro-
1 Cf. Walther von Löwenich, Luther] Theologia Crucis (4th ed.; Munich:
2WA 1, 361 f.; LW 31. 52. Theses 19 and 20 of the Heidelberg Disputa-
3 The Vulgate text of Rom. 1:20, “Invisibilia tnim ipsius… per sa quae
facta sunt; intillecta conspiciuntur,” is echoed in Luther's theses.