Posted by justifiedandsinner
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
28 When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowd was amazed at the way he taught. 29 He wasn’t like the teachers of the Law; instead, he taught with authority. Matthew 7:28-29 (TEV)
405 Draw close to Jesus who has died for you; draw close to that Cross, outlined against the sky on the summit of Golgotha… But draw close sincerely and with interior recollection, which is the sign of Christian maturity. That way the divine and human events of the Passion will sink deep into your soul. (1)
This morning I saw a FB thread that brought this topic to my mind – how do we teach, how do we prepare, and do we have authority.
The thread itself is not important enough to identify, save that it was about who was more orthodox, the author or those critiquing him. What amazed me was that the appeals for orthodoxy were based, not in Scriptues (our baseline) or the Lutheran Confessions (which we have found to be in agreement and a sound explanation of scripture) but rather in this theologian or that theologian in recent historiy.
It reminded me of other discussions I have had recently where the “stars” of recent Lutheranism are held up, and their writings are held up, as if they are our baseline, as if their writings must be held as authoritative. Or the class I recently took, where the professor said questioning the textbook author’s position was not allowed – even though all he did was quote other “expert theologians”, appealing to some and questioning others. There are others, who are trying to show their expertise and their theological acumen, wanting to become the “next” theologian worth quoting or attacking, by quoting this person, or criticising that person.
In my opinion, they are not far from the scribes (the religious and theological experts of their day) They were more concerned with the talmud and traditions of their forefathers, than they were with the texts that were given to them… by God.
So when Jesus quotes scripture, when He teaches, not appealing to some other authority, people note the difference. He isn’t appealing to others thoughts to justify His own, but rather – He is focusing on the text, letting the Holy Spirit work through His words, that the people would have, as Peter called it, the words of Life..
That is why Paul will write:
5 For it is not ourselves that we preach (or your theologian of choice) ; we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (TEV)
Please, note, I am not saying we should dismiss these scholars of our past or present. They have some good stuff, and they can help us when we struggle.
But their works are not our basis, it is not to them we should appeal. They are not our hope, their are not the glory of God incarnate and present in our midst. They are not our word and sacraments. They can help us, but the conversation should never be about them, nor should they be the standard to which we aim.
That has to be Christ. that is who we want our hearers to draw close to, that is who we must be drawn close to, if we want to teach/preach/worship in a way that leads to change. Theology is His logos, His reason, His revelation to us… that we may come to know Him.
We don’t cry, “theologian have mercy on us,” for they cannot…
We cry… “Lord, have mercy….” and He has. So cling to Him.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1572-1575). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
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