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A very different power

This is one of my favorite quotes from Alan Lewis’s superb book, Between Cross and Resurrection. I figured it was definitely worth reposting this week:

It is a very different God, and a very different power, that we have discovered in the story of divine self-emptying, God’s capacity for weakness, the ability - without loss of Godness – to suffer and perhaps to die. This is the triune God of Jesus, fulfilled, majestic, glorified through self-expenditure in the lowly ignominy of our farthest country. There is power here, resurrecting, death-destroying, Devil-defeating; but it is the power of love, defying human expectation, which flowers in contradiction and negation, allowing sin its increase and giving death its day of victory, but only the more abundantly to outstrip both in the fecundity of grace and life. To live in the face of death an Easter Saturday existence, trusting in the weak but powerful love of the crucified and buried God, is itself to be objective, turned outward, away from self-reliance and self-preoccupation, away from our own determination to conquer death, which is in fact self-defeating and destructive. Instead, we are invited bravely and with frankness to admit or own defenselessness against the foe and entrust our self and destiny to the love of God which in its defenselessness proves creative and victorious.

Alan Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 431.


  1. Bruce Hamill wrote:

    It’s a long time since I read Lewis, and then only in essay form. This makes me thinks its worth revisiting. Is there much commentary out there on Lewis’s theology?

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Permalink
  2. Emerson Fast wrote:

    I’ve been reading alot of kenotic theology lately, and it has left me severely dissapointed.

    In Luther’s day there was a tension between the weakness of God manifested on the cross and the power of God manifested in the resurrection. I would be bold enough to say in Paul’s day as well.

    Nowadays we cannot stomach the idea that God still might be “Almighty”. His power is re-interpretted-in the words of Ian Barbour- to mean “empowerment”….unto love, redemption etc..

    We latch onto the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament and its programs for social justice and the judgment of God, but if it was anyone other than Nahum who said that God’s “way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither…the mountains quake before him and the hills melt away.” We would drown him out along with other “patriarchal” declarations of power.

    Kenotic theology is one-sided exegesis. It finishes the story at Christ’s stooping down, and places a question mark on his being “exalted” to the throne of power.

    “He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power.” We might do well to remember that those words were spoken as a warning to the Corinthian church.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

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