July 2024

If you were to ask me to list the Christian theologians who have had the biggest impact on my faith, I would undoubtedly mention a person named Jürgen Moltmann. I discovered Molumann while in seminary and through reading books by another one of my favorite theologians, Miroslav Volf. In theological circles, Moltmann is infamous. In fact, he is often recognized as one of the most important protestant theologians of our time. Unfortunately, he passed on June 3rd and I just wanted to take a moment to honor his memory by introducing him to you!

You might say that Moltmann became a theologian by accident. He grew up in Germany during the time of World War Il and his family were not religious. Once he was of age, he was drafted into the German army and served until he surrendered to a British officer. While a prisoner, Moltmann awakened to the suffering of the war and to the gruesome horror of the Holocaust. It was during that time, while he was wresting with his own complicity in the violence and horror, that he encountered the Scriptures and found the message of the cross of Christ.

For Moltmann, the cross was a scandal of epic proportions. It was the ultimate example of a God who came in solidarity with us and who experienced the suffering that is so prevalent in our lives. The cross was a scandal, because of the radical nature of the love that was demonstrated through it. The cross was not some “transaction” to pay back God, but it was God’s way of standing with us in our pain and ultimately defeating the power of death. Chances are, you’ve heard me preach this theology on Good Friday or at a recent funeral. For me, it’s foundational for understanding what the Gospel is all about. Here’s a quote from Moltmann:

“Christians who do not have the feeling that they must flee the crucified Christ have probably not yet understood him in a sufficiently radical way.” Juirgen Moltmann

No pastor would tell you to “flee” the cross, but the message here is that the cross should not feel comfortable or easy for us. It should challenge us and make us question how we see things. As I said in a recent sermon, the faith of the crucified Lord that we embody should “raise some eyebrows.” It’s a message that challenges the very nature of the world that we live in. It’s a message that seeks grace, reconciliation, and justice for all people, even when we might be reluctant to offer those very things ourselves.

Today, I am thankful for Jürgen Molumann and for the legacy that he has left in his wake. If you are interested in learning more about him, reach out!

Pastor Heath Queen