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The theology of the Cross (Latin: Theologia Crucis,  German : Kreuzestheologie    ) or staurology  (from Greek stauros : cross, and -logy : "the study of")  is a term coined by the theologian Martin Luther  to refer to theology that posits the cross as the only source of knowledge concerning who God is and how God saves. It is contrasted with the Theology of Glory  (theologia gloriae),  which places greater emphasis on human abilities and human reason.
Paragraph 2015 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the way of perfection as passing by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually leads to living in the peace and joy of the beatitudes.
The term theologia crucis was used very rarely by Luther. He first used the term, and explicitly defined it in contrast to the theology of glory, in the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518. During this debate, he represented the Augustinians and presented his theses that later came to define the Reformation movement.
The pertinent theological theses of the debate are: 
By reading the theses, one can see that Luther insists on the complete inability of humanity to fulfill God's law. As one would find consistent with his Evangelical breakthrough, he emphasizes the grace of God in the role of salvation. Works of the law cannot improve one's standing.
According to Luther, the theologian of the cross preaches what seems foolish to the world (1 Cor. 1:18). In particular, the theologian of the cross preaches that (1) humans can in no way earn righteousness, (2) humans cannot add to or increase the righteousness of the cross, and (3) any righteousness given to humanity comes from outside of us (extra nos).
In contrast, in Luther's view, the theologian of glory preaches that (1) humans have the ability to do the good that lies within them (quod in se est), (2) there remains, after the fall, some ability to choose the good, and (3) humans cannot be saved without participating in or cooperating with the righteousness given by God.
As Luther understood it, these two theologies had two radically different starting points: they had different epistemologies, or ways of understanding how people know about God and the world. For the theologian of glory, reason and personal perceptions should be employed to increase knowledge about God and the world. Thus, because an action appears to be good, it must be good. For the theologian of the cross, it is only from the self-revelation of God that people can learn about God and their relation to God—and the most perfect self-revelation of God is God's Word become flesh, Jesus the Christ. Thus, even if an action appears good, still Christ died on the cross for human sins and sinfulness, so the action is not as good as it appears.
In Martin Luther's sermon on the Two Kinds of Righteousness , he refers to theology of the cross as "alien righteousness" and theology of glory as "proper righteousness", owing to its origin in the person who presumes that he or she justifies himself or herself by works.
Some authors translate Luther's phrase as "Theology from the cross",   emphasizing the significance of social position in shaping theology. This was part of a broader trend in Liberation theology and standpoint theory which also led to people's history.[ citation needed ]
Arminianism is a branch of Protestantism based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and his historic supporters known as Remonstrants. Dutch Arminianism was originally articulated in the Remonstrance (1610), a theological statement submitted to the States General of the Netherlands. This expressed an attempt to moderate the doctrines of Calvinism related to its interpretation of predestination. The Synod of Dort (1618–19) was called by the States General to consider the Five Articles of Remonstrance.
Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the paradox of free will, whereby God's omniscience seems incompatible with human free will. In this usage, predestination can be regarded as a form of religious determinism; and usually predeterminism, also known as theological determinism.
Pelagianism is a Christian theological position that holds that the original sin did not taint human nature and that humans by divine grace have free will to achieve human perfection. Pelagius, an ascetic and philosopher from the British Isles, taught that God could not command believers to do the impossible, and therefore it must be possible to satisfy all divine commandments. He also taught that it was unjust to punish one person for the sins of another; therefore, infants are born blameless. Pelagius accepted no excuse for sinful behaviour and taught that all Christians, regardless of their station in life, should live unimpeachable, sinless lives.
Justificatio sola fide, meaning justification by faith alone, is a soteriological doctrine in Christian theology commonly held to distinguish the Lutheran and Reformed traditions of Protestantism, among others, from the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian churches. The doctrine asserts that it is on the basis of faith that believers are made right of their transgressions of the law of God rather than on the basis of what Paul calls "works of the law", sometimes called good works. This forgiveness is known as "justification". In classical Lutheran and Reformed theologies, works are seen to be evidence of faith, but the works themselves do not determine salvation. In contrast, Methodist doctrine affirms a belief in justification by faith that offers God's forgiveness, but holds that holy living with the goal of Christian perfection (sanctification) is essential for salvation.
Total depravity is a Protestant theological doctrine derived from the concept of original sin. It teaches that, as a consequence of man's fall, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin as a result of their fallen nature and, apart from the efficacious (irresistible) or prevenient (enabling) grace of God, is completely unable to choose by themselves to follow God, refrain from evil, or accept the gift of salvation as it is offered.
In Christian theology, merit is a good work done that is "seen to have a claim to a future reward from a graceful God". The role of human merit in Christian life is a point of dispute between Catholics and Protestants.
In Western Christian theology, grace is created by God who gives it as help to one because God desires one to have it, not necessarily because of anything one has done to earn it. It is understood by Western Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to people – "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" – that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, grace is the uncreated Energies of God. Among Eastern Christians generally, grace is considered to be the partaking of the Divine Nature described in 2 Peter 1:4 and grace is the working of God himself, not a created substance of any kind that can be treated like a commodity.
The five solae of the Protestant Reformation are a foundational set of Christian theological principles held by theologians and clergy to be central to the doctrines of justification and salvation as taught by the Reformed and Lutheran branches of Protestantism and Pentecostalism. Each sola represents a key belief in these Protestant traditions in contradistinction to the theological doctrine of the Catholic Church, although they were not assembled as a theological unit until the 20th century. The Reformers are known to have only clearly stated two of the five solae. Even today there are differences as to what constitutes the solae and how many there are, not to mention how to interpret them to reflect the Reformers' beliefs.
In Christianity, salvation is the "saving [of] human beings from sin and its consequences, which include death and separation from God" by Christ's death and resurrection, and the justification following this salvation.
In Christian theology, justification is the event or process by which sinners are made or declared to be righteous in the sight of God.
Sanctification literally means "to set apart for special use or purpose", that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. "made holy", as a vessel, full of the Holy Spirit of God. The concept of sanctification is widespread among religions, including Judaism and especially Christianity. The term can be used to refer to objects which are set apart for special purposes, but the most common use within Christian theology is in reference to the change brought about by God in a believer, begun at the point of salvation and continuing throughout the life of the believer. Many forms of Christianity believe that this process will only be completed in Heaven, but some believe that complete holiness is possible in this life.
In Christianity, contrition or contriteness is repentance for sins one has committed. The remorseful person is said to be contrite.
Imputed righteousness is a concept in Christian theology proposing that the "righteousness of Christ ... is imputed to [believers] — that is, treated as if it were theirs through faith." It is on the basis of Jesus' righteousness that God accepts humans. This acceptance is also referred to as justification.
The history of the Calvinist–Arminian debate begins in early 17th century in the Netherlands with a Christian theological dispute between the followers of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius, and continues today among some Protestants, particularly evangelicals. The debate centers around soteriology, or the study of salvation, and includes disputes about total depravity, predestination, and atonement. While the debate was given its Calvinist–Arminian form in the 17th century, issues central to the debate have been discussed in Christianity in some form since Augustine of Hippo's disputes with the Pelagians in the 5th century.
Free will in theology is an important part of the debate on free will in general. Religions vary greatly in their response to the standard argument against free will and thus might appeal to any number of responses to the paradox of free will, the claim that omniscience and free will are incompatible.
The theology of Martin Luther was instrumental in influencing the Protestant Reformation, specifically topics dealing with justification by faith, the relationship between the Law and Gospel, and various other theological ideas. Although Luther never wrote a systematic theology or a "summa" in the style of St. Thomas Aquinas, many of his ideas were systematized in the Lutheran Confessions.
Penal substitution is a theory of the atonement within Christian theology, which declares that Christ, voluntarily submitting to God the Father's plan, was punished (penalized) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive sins making us at one with God (atonement). It began with Luther and continued to develop with the Calvinist tradition as a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus' death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary fulfilment of legal demands for the offenses of sins.
Sin is an immoral act considered to be a transgression of divine law. The doctrine of sin is central to Christianity, since its basic message is about redemption in Christ.
Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:
The two kinds of righteousness is a Lutheran paradigm. It attempts to define man's identity in relation to God and to the rest of creation. The two kinds of righteousness is explicitly mentioned in Luther's 1518 sermon entitled "Two Kinds of Righteousness", in Luther's Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (1535), in his On the Bondage of the Will, Melanchthon's Apology of the Augsburg Confession, and in the third article of the Formula of Concord. It is also the implicit presupposition governing Luther's On the Freedom of a Christian as well as other works.