ALL CHRISTIAN MINISTRY depends to a great deal on how deeply the reality of the cross has penetrated the soul of the Christian worker. The cross is about sin, judgment, and the reality of utter human bankruptcy. It is about the certainty and redemptive power of suffering, but it is also about the reigning power of mercy, grace, and love. 

It is impossible for the message of the cross to penetrate one’s soul and still be enthralled with distortions like the gospel of health and wealth. Luther called the latter the “theology of glory” and contrasted it with his “theology of the cross.” The cross went deep into the heart of Luther. Here is how Carl Trueman summarizes Luther on this subject. 

“Luther spoke of the theologians of the cross, not of the theology of the cross. The latter can be an intellectual system or lens through which we simply make the necessary inversions of meaning and expectation with words like strength and weakness. 

The former, however , demands the existential engagement of the individual, and that at the deepest level possible. The theologian of the cross simply cannot talk glibly, with an easygoing smile and a cocksure wink, about the theology of the cross. Indeed, to do so would be a sure sign that one is actually dealing with a theologian of glory. There was, after all, a crucial difference in Luther’s mind between preaching the cross and preaching about the cross. Anybody can do the latter; only the theologian of the cross can do the former.”

Trueman, Carl R. (2015-02-28). Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 174). Crossway. Kindle Edition.