Monday, January 07, 2008

Koehler's A Summary of Christian Doctrine: The Holy Scriptures, part 3

Koehler writes,

It is not our business to sit in judgment on what we have learned to be the plain sense of the Bible text, accepting what agrees, and rejecting what does not agree with our personal views and rationalizations. This judicial or critical use of human reason is absolutely out of place with respect to divine truths. Where God has spoken, the right of private judgment ceases. (2 Cor. 10:5) We must take the words of the Scriptures in the sense and meaning they convey; we may not add thereto nor take away anything from it (Deut. 4:2), nor corrupt the Word of God by putting our own meaning into the text (2 Cor. 2:17). We must, therefore, not "correct" the Scriptures according to our ideas and logical deductions, but we must correct our thoughts and ideas according to the Scriptures.

An entire blog could be created based on examples of the modern church "correcting" scripture, but it would be depressing to keep focusing on that! The one example that comes to my mind is how my former Lutheran synod went to great lengths to justify the ordination of women. In the end, it was just a twisting of scripture to meet desires. It doesn't have to make sense to me that God has ordained that women serve in other roles and not as pastors. I can accept that God knows what He is doing.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Koehler's A Summary of Christian Doctrine: The Holy Scriptures, pt 2

If we wish to convey our thoughts to a person, we must do so in a language he understands. Because the Word of God was intended for human beings to learn and to know, it was necessary that it be revealed in words of human language, intelligible to human minds. The Word of God does not work like a magic formula which need not be understood, but we must learn and know what it means (emphasis mine). In searching the Scriptures we must, therefore, use our knowledge of language and grammar, us the faculties of our mind to discover the sense and meaning of what we read, and we may then formulate our findings into doctrinal statements, or creeds, as we do in the Confessions of our Church. Such instrumental use of our mental faculties is proper and necessary if we would know the Scriptures.

We must learn and know what it means....For me, this sentence illustrates the change in my own life over the last few years. Although I was a Christian and I believed that the Bible was God's inspired word, it did not mean much to me in my daily life beyond a list of do's and do not's. People I knew would "claim" Bible verses and memorize them (out of context) in hopes it would come true in their lives. I still know people who do this and I have NEVER seen it work. My goal now is to know scripture and to understand what it means in context of the passage, chapter and book.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Koehler's A Summary of Christian Doctrine: The Holy Scriptures

Before it is possible to determine what is to be regarded as Christian doctrine, it is necessary to agree on the source from which such doctrine is to be drawn, and on the norm by which it must be judged; otherwise it is impossible to reach an agreement.

No one can tell us what God wants us to believe and to do but God Himself. (1 Cor. 2:9-11). Therefore our knowledge of God and of His will toward us can be derived from no other source than from God's own Word. (Is. 8:19-20) This Word of God must also be the norm and criterion according to which teachings and teachers are to be judged. (John 8: 31-32) and (1 Peter 4:11)

The Lutheran Confessions, therefore, state: We believe, teach and confess that the sole rule and standard according to which all dogmas together with all teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone. (Triglot, p. 777)

My thoughts: It is no wonder that confessional Lutheran churches simply cannot join with most other churches in matters of faith. It's not that we don't want to; we cannot out of adherence to scripture.