Sunday, January 09, 2005

Why I don't think I'm a Theologian

Glen,

You make a good point. I should probably explain that, since my conversion to Confessional Lutheran practice, I have gained an understanding of what it means to be a Christian: to love and worship God, to share my beliefs with others, to defend the gospel and to preach and teach the gospel. I think that I am qualified and compelled to do the first three, but I am not qualified to do the last one outside of children and other women. Does that sound strange to you? I realize that I do end up appearing to teach at times, but I am actually defending or sharing the gospel. Why am I concerned about not appearing to give men spiritual instruction? Well, there is the biblical mandate, of course, but I am aided in accepting that mandate by the numerous abuses of men or women teaching and preaching when they had no business doing so. I am not against women teaching, particularly in educational settings. It's just that at age 44, I am sometimes overwhelmed by how much I do not know about God and God's Holy Word.

I think the Lutheran church does an outstanding job of teaching and training their pastors. My pastors can read Hebrew, Greek and who knows what else. They know that Bible inside and outside, as much as a mere man can, and they know in their hearts. I think that men have a God-given gift in this area, whether they are a pastor or not. God designed men and women so beautifully and complimentarily, giving each of us important gifts to sustain us here on earth. All of my pastors have read my blogs and have encouraged me to continue. They remind me that we all have a duty, male or female, to defend the gospel and share it with others. Confessional Lutheran pastors do such a great job of teaching and preaching - they don't need my help, except to bring others in need to them. So...that's why I like to say "I'm not a theologian." What I really should say, I suppose, is "I'm not a pastor."

The passage below comes from WELS.net.

It should come as no surprise that when Christians leave their homes and gather for worship, fellowship, and instruction in God's house, God doesn't abandon or reverse the order he has established for the home but prescribes it also for the church (I Corinthians 14:33-35). Those who have been given headship and responsibilities in the home have that same position in the church -- under Christ, of course.
Christian men consider their church to be their spiritual family. They regard the female members of their congregation as their sisters in Christ. If there is a considerable age difference, they will even treat them with the love and respect which a Christian son ought to show his mother (I Timothy 5:2).

In that loving spirit, they will assume their God-given responsibility in the church for the good of all the members. They will cheerfully, even sacrificially, give of their time and energy to oversee the business of God's house, to see to it that God's Word is taught in truth and that programs of Bible study and instruction in sound doctrine are made available to all members of their spiritual family. They will foster good stewardship and fellowship, promote and participate in energetic programs of outreach and evangelism, and show loving concern for the physical and spiritual welfare of every member. They will strive to be men full of the Spirit and wisdom (Acts 6:3) and will seek that Spirit and wisdom from the Holy Scriptures.
Just as Christian husbands strive to bring joy into the lives of their God-given wives, so Christian men in the congregation will consider the spiritual needs of their sisters in Christ and will strive to do all in their power to make their worship and fellowship edifying and delightful. They will also do all they can to recognize the gifts of their spiritual sisters, seek their input, develop programs in which those gifts can be used in a God-pleasing way in the service of the Lord and of his church, and encourage them to joyfully participate in such service.
Just as in the Christian home so also in the Christian church, Christian women will recognize the headship of their brothers in Christ. They will cheerfully help and serve in any way they can and, in loving obedience to Christ the true head of the church, accept the Scriptural restriction that they are not permitted to teach or have authority over the man (I Timothy 2:11-12). For the strength to do this they too will turn to Christ, to the Word and to the Spirit.
As Christian men and women worship and serve together in this way in the church they will experience what Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4:16: "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does his work."

I'm open to comments here. I am new to Confessional Lutheranism and am definitely NOT new to overreacting. ha! BTW, I do not consider blogs to be teaching; they are for sharing and defending the gospel or any other things you want. Women are a great part of the Confessional Lutheran blogosphere!

1 comment:

ghp said...

Theresa,

I think you're spot-on, particularly in your statement that what you are not called to be is a pastor.

Not everyone is called to the Pastoral Office -- clear guidelines for that office's qualifications are given by St. Paul. This office is charged with the public execution of certain tasks & actions in the stead (and by the command) of Christ.

We all, however, are most definitely called to have a personal relationship with God. We are all members of the Priesthood of All Believers, as we do not need intercessors/intermediaries between us and God (as was the case in the OT).

The Priesthood and the Pastoral Office are different, and have different duties. Unfortunately, there has been some confusion over the years, and some Priestly (i.e., theologian) duties have become mistakenly associated with the Pastoral Office. Pastors are not OT Priests (though they *are* members of the Priesthood of All Believers...). Conversely, over the years some among the Priesthood have wanted to (and succeeded in) wrongly usurp some of the duties of the Pastoral Office (most obviously/egregiously in the case of "priestitutes"). Not all Priests are Pastors.

It's a difficult thing for our sinful minds to understand at times, despite its clear Biblical underpinnings. Our sinful flesh rebels at *any* limits, no matter how predictably tragic the result of such rebellion will be.

So, I'll stand by my statement (although I can't remember at whose blog I made the comment...) that you most definitely *are* a theologian, Theresa! ;-)

-ghp