The Narrative of the Cross


It’s been a few weeks since I posted. It usually gets busy this time of semester. While I’ve not posted, I have been engaged in various studies, so I’m hoping to get some of my thoughts down in various posts in the not-to-distant future.

I just finished a book called Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross, by Michael Gorman, and I thought he made several excellent points. It was a detailed book that provided a great summary of some of Paul’s major themes and the controlling influence of the cross.

He used Philippians 2:6-11 as Paul’s “Master Story”, a supposed early Christian hymn that outlines Christ’s departure from heaven to come to the earth and die on the cross. Gorman identifies a formula in this passage that Paul uses repeatedly in his writings and instruction. The formula looks like this:

Although [status], not [selfishness] but [self-abasement/slavery].

The cross turned Paul’s world upside down, and he re-interpreted all of life in light of it. Although Christ possessed a certain status as God, he did not use his status for self-promotion. He left the throne of heaven to serve humanity, giving up his position and suffering shame and humiliation. His sacrificial life forged a way of life for the people of God forevermore.

This model, placed into a neat formula by Gorman, provides clear moral guidance for the Christian. The narrative of the cross supplies a perspective on godly actions and the motivation that underlies them.

In the consideration of ethics, these themes keep coming up over and over again. We would do well to give serious thought to them.

Click here to go to the next post on Paul’s narrative of the cross.

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4 Responses to The Narrative of the Cross

  1. Pingback: Paul’s Use of the Cross Narrative | Theological Sweets

  2. Preacher man says:

    Philippians 2:5-11 is one of my most treasured verses. I see it not as a formula but as the gospel.

    I always thought of Paul’s rhetorical style as a way to draw in readers and contrast their fleshly thought with Christian thought. “Oh, you could behave this way (yeah, I understand that), but that is not the way Christ would do it and you should imitate Christ.

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks for your comment. I agree Jason. It is the foundation of the gospel, and Paul uses this gospel message in his moral instruction to the churches. This news is not only to be heard but accepted and lived! Thanks again.

  3. Pingback: Narrative of Cross and Church Unity | Theological Sweets

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