“Cruciformity” Resources?

I am writing a brief (750 words) dictionary article on “cruciformity.” I have space for three additional bibliographical items besides my own book. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have three in mind, but I am open to ideas.

Here’s the opening paragraph of the article, which defines the term:

“Cruciformity”—from “cruciform” (cross-shaped) and “conformity”—means conformity to the cross, to Christ crucified. Cruciformity is the ethical dimension of the theology of the cross found throughout the NT and the Christian tradition. Paradoxically, because the living Christ remains the crucified one, cruciformity is Spirit-enabled conformity to the indwelling crucified and resurrected Christ. It is the ministry of the living Christ, who re-shapes all relationships and responsibilities to express the self-giving, life-giving love of God that was displayed on the cross. Although cruciformity often includes suffering, at its heart cruciformity—like the cross—is about faithfulness and love.

I then go on to discuss cruciform existence in the gospels, Paul, and 1 Pet and Rev before mentioning and responding to some objections to a cruciform ethic.

There’s the context. Any suggestions?

28 Responses to ““Cruciformity” Resources?”

  1. [...] Gorman has just posted a concise definition of cruciformity: “Cruciformity”—from “cruciform” (cross-shaped) and [...]

  2. Luke says:

    No suggestions here, but I am curious what dictionary this is for :-)

  3. MJG says:

    It’s the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics from Baker; it should be a good resource.

  4. Dustin says:

    Lindbeck, in describing intratextual theology, puts it this way:

    it is not that “believers find their stories in the Bible, but rather that they make the story of the Bible their story. The cross is not to be viewed as a figurative representation of suffering nor the messianic kingdom as a symbol for hope in the future; rather, suffering should be cruciform, and hopes for the future messianic”

    (quoted from Nancey Murphy’s Beyond Liberalism and Foundationalism)

    I don’t know if this helps, but it was the first place I heard the term, and the quote is one that has been central for me since.

  5. Angela says:

    Hi, Michael,

    The Crucified God by Moltmann came to my mind.

    Thank you, for asking for our input and insights. It is a joy to be in the Cross Talk community!

  6. MJG says:


    Great quote, even if the book can’t go in the bibliography. Thanks.

    Angela—a great candidate. Thanks. And thanks for the trip reservation/deposit! I’ll email you separately soon.

  7. Angela says:

    Either email is fine!!!


  8. Michael says:

    I really would like to see the answers you have to the objections to this view.

    Thank you.

  9. Michael N. says:

    I second Moltmann and without having a specific book in mind, I am reminded of Bonhoeffer.

  10. MJG says:

    Michael (at example):

    I feel the need to not reveal the entire contents of a brief article before it is published. However, you can see an extended discussion in the last chapter of my book Cruciformity. Sorry I can’t say more now.

    Michael N–Bonhoeffer was on my list.

  11. Angela says:

    Hi, Michael,

    So, at the heart of your “Cruciformity…is … faithfulness and love,” a faithfulness and love that conforms and transforms!

    Here’s something from Moltmann’s, The Trinity and the Kingdom:

    “The closer people come to the divine reality, the more deeply they are drawn into this dying and this rebirth. This becomes vividly present and experienceable in the figure of the crucified Jesus…the person who turns to the God who encounters us visibly in the person of the crucified Jesus, accepts this transformation…the practice of his own life is thereby changed, and changed much more radically than is possible within the potentialities open to the ‘active’ person. The man or woman who suffers God in the fellowship of the crucified Jesus can also praise God in the fellowship of the Jesus who is risen. The theology of the cross becomes the theology of doxology.” (8)

    There are other chapters in the book that might be supportive of your cruciformity article- The Passion of God, The Eternal Sacrifice of Love, The Sorrow of God, God and Suffering, etc.


  12. MJG says:


    This is a GREAT Moltmann quote and may actually provoke me to go back to him for work not only on this but also on my SBL paper on Romans as a treatjse on theosis.

  13. ajk says:

    “…The man or woman who suffers God in the fellowship of the crucified Jesus can also praise God in the fellowship of the Jesus who is risen. The theology of the cross becomes the theology of doxology.”

    Moltmann’s words echo an ancient liturgical text — the “theology of doxology” — attributed to St. John of Damascus (†749) and still sung for Easter/Pascha Matins in the Byzantine rite:

    “Yesterday I was buried with you O Christ, today I rise with you as you arise. Yesterday I was crucified with you (??????????????); glorify me with you, Saviour, in your Kingdom.”

    The translation / commentary points correctly to Rom. 8:17 as the basis, but there one finds “we suffer with him.” The explicit “crucified with” is no doubt drawing on Rom. 6:6 and Gal. 2:19. The “glorify me with you, Saviour, in your Kingdom,” as the culmination, is an expression of theosis.

  14. Justin Borger says:


    A few suggestions…

    1) Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament
    2) John Stott, The Cross of Christ
    2) John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus
    3) Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
    4) Direct Tidball, The Message of the Cross
    5) L. Ann Jervis, At the Heart of the Gospel
    6) Forthcoming article by Jason Hood in the Westminster Theological Journal, “The Cross in the NT: Two Theses in Conversation with Recent Literature.”

  15. MJG says:


    Thanks. You hit 3 out of 4 on my list: Hays, Yoder, Bonhoeffer. One will probably have to go! I have room for three max. The fourth is going to be either Kathy Ehrensperger, Paul and the Dynamics of Power, or Moltmann.

    I’m interested in what Hood will say in WTJ.


    I appreciate your making the Moltmann-theosis connection. That needs further exploration, as I said to Angela.

  16. Angela says:

    How wonderful and exciting all this is!

  17. Michael:
    Looking forward to meeting later this week at Klyne Snodgrass’ Conference at North Park on Conversion. May I recommend Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison where even though he does not explictly use “cruciformity’, his use and explanation of “participation in the sufferings of God for the world” captures your thought. I’d also recommend Paul Fiddes’ Participating in God where implicit use of “cruciformity” takes shape in his discusson of God’s vulnerability, suffering and theosis as incorporation into the divine life of God.

    Paul Bischoff

  18. I neglected to add Moltmann’s Crucified God to the list. Michael, what is your hesitation to use Moltmann as support for your cruciformity project?
    I was surprised you didn’t quote him in “Inhabiting the Cruciform God.”

    May I suggest his section ‘Crucfied God’ [200ff] especially his use of “participation” as it relates to taking a robust trinitarian view of the cross along with his discussion of theosis in the same section.


  19. MJG says:


    Thanks for these suggestions. I wish I could add them all, but space!! I will note them for my own bibliography, however.

    I own and like Fiddes’ book. I reference Moltmann in Cruciformity but, frankly, he fell off my radar screen for a while, in part because I prefer the term “cruciform God” to “crucified God.” I clearly need to go back to him and include him in the second edition of Inhabiting some day! :-)

    See you Thursday!

  20. J. R. Daniel Kirk says:

    I was going to suggest Hays, Moral Vision, as well. Add my vote there!

  21. MJG says:

    Hays is definitely in, Daniel, surprise-surprise!

  22. Tyler says:

    Are you familiar with the work of the Eastern Orthodox scholars Vladimir Lossky and Kallistos Ware? I see a great deal of resonance between your work and Orthodox doctrines, although they lack the exegetical support that you are doing.


  23. MJG says:


    I have read some of both Kallistos Ware (more) and Lossky. The similarity is that I think the Orthodox are on to something that we in the West have generally missed!

  24. Jason says:

    Maximos the Confessor?

  25. Joseph Perry says:

    Dr. Gorman;

    My name is Joseph Perry. I’ve recenty started a MATS program at Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN and Dr. David McCabe introduced me to some of your work through his NT Theology class. I am thoroughly interested in the work you have done thus far concerning the concept of cruciformity. So much so, my exegetical research paper is on Galatians 2:15-21 with your view in sight as an argument for an interpretive thesis. That is to say, Galatians 2:15-21 is more than justification by faith but “that faith is co-crucifixion with Christ” (from your book ITCG, p. 63).
    For fear of misinterpreting you, my question is this; is it safe to say your interpretive thesis statement for Galatians 2:15-21 is; “For Paul, justification – restoration to right covenant relations with God and others – occurs, not through performance of or zeal for the Law, but through Christ’s quintessential act of covenant-keeping. This restoration to right covenant relations is therefore an experience of death and resurrection, or resurrection via death.” If this is correct then would you say this interpretive statement is more in-depth than the proposed “justification by faith and not the Law” yet still related? Or, would you say the generally accepted “justification by faith” interpretation leaves out participation in the cross?

  26. Ron Wilson says:

    Hello Dr. Gorman,
    You may remember some communication from me and a unpublished book I sent you a few years ago.
    Now I have published a new book called “FOLLOWING JESUS–OUR CRUCIFORM EXAMPLE, featuring 20 stories of Arab and Jewish Believes who exemplify cruciformity.
    It is available through Amazon. Links can be found on my website.
    Many thanks for your resources. You will see that I have quoted you extensively.
    Ron Wilson

  27. MJG says:

    Thanks for the notice, Ron, and congratulations. I will check it out.

  28. Mark Hobbs says:

    I am drawn to the cruciformity of Christ. In fact, I found in my spiritual journey that the crucified Christ is THE Christ. And it has been a solid foundation and discerning marker of what is truth vs error like Paul the apostle confronting Peter about his hypocrisy and like Jesus saying he will be lifted up as like when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.

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