Monday, January 1, 2007

More on Confidence in the public square

As I stated in my previous post, the Orthodox (and to a lesser degree the RC apologists) have much more confidence in their claims than we Lutherans do in ours when we discuss contentious issues. This confidence is very useful in contentious debate as in effect the real debate often becomes one over authority when post-modern assumptions--"How can you know what this says?" come into play. When the Lutheran says "St. Paul says we are forgiven for Christ's sake and so God's wrath is turned aside" the Orthodox (or RC) apologist only has to assert, with perhaps some citations froma Church father, that the text does not really mean that because the Church interprets it differently, and if you persist in your interpretation you are against the whole Church throughout history.

As I said, this confidence that the EOC is the Church is very useful. Notice that the discussion will shift from "What does the Holy Spirit say in the Scriptures?" to "How can you even know what the Holy Spirit says if you are not one of us?"--i.e. who has authority to interpret? If one believes one really has authority, one will be more confident--and confidence is attractive.

Now, as a Lutheran I have a problem with this. Do we really want to believe that the Scriptures are basically a cipher without an interpreter? I would like to point out that I believe one can understand what the Scriptures say with reason alone, but one can only believe what they say through the Holy Spirit. I also believe that implicitly stating that the Scriptures have what amounts to an esoteric meaning, only accessible through the good offices of the infallible interpreter--be it the bishop of Rome or the "consensus of the Church throughout history", is a bit gnostic in my opinion. (I hasten to add that this does not make the one advancing these ideas gnostic!)

So, in the future, we should have more confidence the revelation of the prophets, priests, kings and apostles in the Old and New testaments. We should also have confidence that ours is indeed an historic faith, and not something cooked up by Fr. Martin Luther in a tower.

1 comment:

Preachrboy said...

Scripture interprets Scripture.

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