Rev. Steven E. Thomas, Pastor
Pastor Steven Thomas was born in Houston, Texas. He graduated from New Mexico Tech with a BS in Chemistry. He was working as a chemist in Baltimore for a few years, and then decided to pursue the dream of being a pastor. In 1993, Pastor Steve graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He is married to Pastor LaDonna Thomas who serves at St. David Lutheran Church in Hanover, PA. They have one daughter, Rebekah.
Pastor Steve enjoys kayaking, reading, and motorcycling. Pastor Steve’s passion is always looking for greater understanding - especially in how our expanding scientific knowledge reveals additional wonders of God.
Some of his favorite books are The Bible (of course), Awareness by Anthony DeMello, The Shack by William P. Young, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, E=mc2 by David Bodanis, and the Tolkein trilogy.
Theology of the Cross
One of the more important theological understandings that Lutheranism offers is the concept of a “Theology of the Cross”.
The Theology of the Cross goes something like this: Humanity is completely sinful and so, we are completely unable to save ourselves from our sin. Therefore, Jesus had to sacrifice His life on the cross so that humanity might be saved from our sins. Jesus had to sacrifice Himself on the cross for our salvation.
That sounds like a pretty obvious point in Christianity. And yet, there are two pretty popular ideas in Christianity that are in direct opposition to this basic understanding of the cross. These two corrupting ideas are: (1) That people are able to discipline themselves enough to be able to become more holy and so, make their way to God and (2) Since Christians are God’s chosen people, then they should be on top of the financial ladder - with God’s powerful blessings.
This is called the Theology of Glory. You can hear some classic TV preachers proclaim this corruption of Christianity. They call it the Prosperity Gospel or “Name It And Claim It” theology. You get whatever you want because you deserve it.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is only because God decided to have mercy upon our pitiful human condition of sinfulness, that Jesus came to forgive us of our sins and to reunite us with God. In fact, the Theology of Glory completely undermines our need for Jesus. Why should Jesus have sacrificed His life in such a horrible way if we were able to clear our hearts and minds and make ourselves good by our own efforts?
A subheading to the Theology of the Cross is that sometimes we experience God most fully in the midst of suffering and/or sacrifice. For instance, when a firefighter sacrifices his life to save people in a burning building, you can see the presence of God through the firefighter’s actions. Or, when someone sacrifices their time and money to help PAL lunch or World Hunger or even with the many various ministries of the local church. In all of these sacrifices you see the presence of Jesus.
In addition, when you are in the midst of suffering, you can have a clearer vision of God. For instance, if you are suffering a serious illness, you fully realize that God is the primary master of all of Creation and Life. Doctors and medicines may or may not help, but God has the power to make these means work - or to simply bring healing beyond all of these means.
In a similar way, when you are suffering from a serious loss. Maybe someone you love has died. Then you very clearly realize that Jesus has opened the pathway to eternal life. Very simply, there is no other hope in all the world.
And so, in these ways, in the midst of suffering, you most clearly see the revelation of God. This is a part of the Theology of the Cross.
Strangely enough, this is the way to the abundant life that Jesus offers. Self-sacrifice opens you to a whole new reality that is not “self”-centered. It opens you to all of the world - all of the realities that are not just the limited “you”. (But then, that is a whole other article.)
Pastor Messages of Special Interest
Suicide - Surviving Life’s Darkest Moments
Video of Archived Sermons
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