Theology of the Cross vs. Glory: How We Theologically Misunderstand Our Kids (Rooted 2017 Workshop Preview)


A friend recently told me about the medical ordeal that a member of his extended family had encountered over the last several years. After falling ill, doctors prescribed multiple medications to heal this person’s condition. After eight different attempts at the proper medicine and treatment, her health actually grew worse.

However, a hopeful turning point occurred that hinged on one simple discovery: she had been incorrectly diagnosed.

Another doctor found that she had a completely different condition. When they began to treat her for the right illness, then her health began to improve.

I would submit that, historically, many American youth ministries and parents operate like the former doctors mentioned in this article. They have good intentions. They deeply love kids. They tirelessly offer the best strategies and approaches they know in order to heal the kids and to set them in the right direction.

However, if you have the wrong diagnosis of kids’ fundamental condition, then the medicine you offer will not help, and it may actually harm them.

The condition to which I refer is kids’ human nature. Many people fundamentally misunderstand the nature of sin as it applies to teenagers. As a result, the tactics they use in ministering to and leading kids fall flat or worsen the problem.

Martin Luther knew this error well. In his critique of medieval Roman Catholicism, Luther identified the flawed view of mankind employed in the church’s message and ministry to its people.

Luther presented the theology of the cross, which he set against the theology of glory. He showed how the cross accurately informs us about both the nature of mankind and the cure for our sinfulness.

In this workshop, we will look at how we are all naturally theologians of glory. Consequently, we tend to relate and minister to kids in a manner that is inconsistent with the cross. We will look at Jesus’ portrayal of the human condition, particularly as seen in his teachings on the Sermon on the Mount. Then we will take a look at the theology of the cross as a liberating, gracious approach to ministry and relationships with kids.

This workshop will be presented at Rooted 2017 in Dallas, Texas on October 26-28. To register for the conference, click here


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