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The Power of the Cross: Theology and the Death of Christ in Paul, Luther, and Pascal

ISBN: 9780853649847
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In a postmodern world the church cannot escape the question of power. The contemporary critique of the church suggests that it reigned for so long in Western society not because it was more true than its rivals, but because it was more powerful.

Is the Christian claim to truth merely a veiled bid for power? Has not the church regularly abused its power during the years of Christendom? Does Christian theology have the resources to answer these charges?

This book argues that it does, in the quiet but recurrent theme of the theology of the cross. It explores the origins and contours of this kind of theology in three of its major exponents -- St. Paul, Martin Luther, and Blaise Pascal -- showing how each of them turned to a theology of the cross to combat the abuse of power within the church. It concludes by considering how such theology might do the same in the postmodern context. Of interest to anyone concerned with the role of the church in a postmodern world, or in the theology of the cross itself, this book explores vital themes for the church's life and thought both today and in the future.

Resource Experts
An impressive and penetrating exploration of the thought of three very diverse theological giants, each of whom identified the cross as a threat to, and correction of, all human and religious preoccupation's with power. Dr. Tomlin's fine study has important and salutary implications for the Christian churches of our time.

—David R. Catchpole

Tomlin helpfully shows major points of contact and differences between postmodern critiques of power and the theologies of the cross presented from Paul, Luther and Pascal. Here is a veritable arsenal of information for the thinking Christian.

—Graham McFarlane, Themelios, Volume 26 - Issue 2

It is one thing for the cross to stand at the center of our theological beliefs and for us to speak of its redemptive power in the heart. It is another to grasp how it must control all our thought and shape our whole life. Graham Tomlin enables us to do just that, especially by examining its peculiar power and weakness, pitted against the power and pride of our world. Here is the groundwork of constructive theology at its best.

—Stephen Williams

  • Title: The Power of the Cross: Theology and the Death of Christ in Paul, Luther and Pascal
  • Author: Graham Tomlin
  • Publisher: Wipf and Stock
  • Print Publication Date: 1999
  • Logos Release Date: 2011
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Theology; Luther, Martin, 1483-1546; Pascal, Blaise, 1623-1662; Paul, the Apostle, Saint
  • ISBNs: 9780853649847, 0853649847
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-09-15T16:47:34Z

The Logos edition of The Power of the Cross equips you for better study with cutting-edge functionality and features. Whether you are performing Bible word studies, preparing a sermon, or researching and writing a paper, Logos Bible Software gives you the tools you need to use your digital library effectively and efficiently by searching for verses, finding Scripture references and citations instantly. Additionally, important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, theology texts, and other resources in your library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. With most Logos resources, you can take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Graham Tomlin (PhD, Exeter University) is principal of St. Mellitus College, London. He taught on Martin Luther and the Reformation in the theology faculty of the University of Oxford for eight years. He is the author, among many other publications, of The Power of the Cross: Theology and the Death of Christ in Paul, Luther and Pascal, The Provocative Church, Luther and His World and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book for 2014: Looking Through the Cross.


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    Two of my favourite historical persons are Luther and Pascal, so I was quite eager to read this. I think the Author's argument for comparing the Theology of the Cross of Paul, Luther and Pascal is quite sound. I must admit I had never really considered that Pascal is quite "independent" of Luther. I also like how the Author concentrates on the early chapters of Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, as this stops the work from becoming too large. I was a bit puzzled about the introduction of Michel Foucault and the sections about his views and his critics within the Conclusion. I felt the Author weakened the excellent approach of this book. In fact, the Conclusion drops this from being 5 stars for me, as the Author introduces new aspects of Luther as well as starts probing into Nietzsche as well as introducing Foucault. It is almost an introduction to a second volume rather than a conclusion. However, I still think it is a good read and time well spent - and there is an excellent bibliography :)


Digital list price: $34.99
Save $7.00 (20%)