Pastor Fritz Foltz

Pastor Foltz is Pastor Emeritus of Saint James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, PA and author of the the Frontline Study content.

Lesson 1: Fratelli Tutti

Lesson 1: Fratelli Tutti

I intend to examine Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, in the next few weeks believing that he offers an extremely important guideline for our troubled times. People have pretty much missed the challenge he makes to world views taken for granted in our current society, perhaps because they have difficulty getting beyond the burdensome […]

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Lesson 15: Summary of Theology of the Cross

Lesson 15: Summary of Theology of the Cross

Let’s be honest. I started this series after trying to understand how so many people could support leaders who profess and practice values I regard as unChristian. I had noticed that a theology of the cross, a central part of my Lutheran background, was conspicuously absent in everything I was reading. Now after investigating this […]

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Lesson 14: Love in a Theology of the Cross

Lesson 14: Love in a Theology of the Cross

If Christian love is unconditional, it is also ubiquitous. St. Paul describes it as the only virtue that is essential in all Christian actions. In I Corinthians 12- 14, he is describing the Church as a community in which each individual shares her spiritual gifts with others. In the very middle of the passage, he […]

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Lesson 13:  Love in a Theology of the Cross (Grace as Charm)

Lesson 13: Love in a Theology of the Cross (Grace as Charm)

Once we define Christian love as unconditional compassion and unconditional forgiveness, we recognize it is gracious. Christians have no trouble speaking of God’s love as the grace that saves us. We are hesitant, however, to see our own loving behavior as grace that transforms the world, especially since Freud created a culture of suspicion. Nonetheless, […]

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Lesson 12: Love in a Theology of the Cross (Forgiveness as Transformation)

Lesson 12: Love in a Theology of the Cross (Forgiveness as Transformation)

Understanding Christian love from the perspective of the crucifixion highlights Jesus’ most radical words. Compassion becomes unconditional compassion. Love your neighbor becomes love your enemy. The same goes for forgiveness, the second characteristic. Hearing Jesus pray from the Cross that God would forgive his executioners reminds us that during his ministry he advocated forgiving our […]

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Lesson 11: Love in a Theology of the Cross (Compassion)

Lesson 11: Love in a Theology of the Cross (Compassion)

Lupe has prompted me to make clear that I do not mean to advocate 16th century concepts. When I refer to Martin Luther’s theology of the cross helping me understand the problems of the contemporary church, I don’t mean much more than the need to consider the implications of Jesus’ crucifixion when talking about Christian […]

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Lesson 10: Two Christianities

Lesson 10: Two Christianities

About ten weeks ago, I started using a theology of the cross in an attempt to understand the deep divisions in our church and society. I consistently found myself examining two different kinds of Christianity whose characteristics could surprisingly also be applied to the divisions in society. One group described our relationship, whether with God […]

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Lesson 9: God in a Theology of Glory

Lesson 9: God in a Theology of Glory

Early in my ministry, the Lutheran Church asked me to investigate the growing Pentecostal movement. With very little effort, I found myself quickly making friends and participating in groups at every level. When I shared my final report, many of them appreciated everything but one aside I made near the end. In it, I expressed […]

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Lesson 8: God in the Theology of the Cross

Lesson 8: God in the Theology of the Cross

Many theologians maintained it was impossible to have faith in God after the Nazi genocide of six million Jews. How could God allow the German nation to slaughter his chosen people? Ivan, in The Brothers Karamazov, claims you don’t have to go that far. The abuse and murder of just one innocent baby speaks against […]

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Lesson 7: Prophecy in a Theology of the Cross

Lesson 7: Prophecy in a Theology of the Cross

Two flawed pictures of the crucifixion are blunting the church’s message in our time. The first presents Jesus as a sacrifice enabling humanity to escape a fallen creation. Anyone who is willing to believe this and accept the deal escapes the last judgment and is taken to live with God in Heaven as the evil […]

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