Lutheran clergy love to spar with one another and at times that sparring can turn into spearing. And with the advent of social media, these epic wars now take place in an arena full of spectators. I will leave it to others (including this fine piece by Pr. Joshua Scheer) to help us think about how we ought to engage one another especially as onlookers in the social media stands look on.
But one thing I have noticed in most of the recent argumentation is a surprising lack of scriptural reference. There seems to almost be an aversion to argumentation that rests on scripture alone. Sometimes I think this is where the intellectualism built into Confessional Lutheranism turns from blessing into curse. Wisdom is left behind in favor of cerebral swagger.
Many arguments seem to simply be an exercise in proving the size of one’s brain or the extent of their reading prowess . Authors travel skillfully through the philosophical distinctions undergirding much of our systematic theology. They quote the Confessions, Lutheran heavyweights, and patristic sources with ease. But about what the scriptures say, they are almost silent.
It is as if simple references the scriptures would be considered infantile. Anybody can do that. Anymore within this sometime bizarre land of Confessional Lutheranism, use the scriptures extensively and you will get you accused of being a Biblicist, Pietist, and who knows what else.
As far as edification, I often find myself more edified by a faithful laymen who knows the scriptures well than all this pontification I read regularly on the interwebs. It seems to me that often the elite talking heads of the system which boasts a motto of sola scriptura do much of their work sine scriptura.
And yes, I just used Latin in an argument against intellectual pride. I am aware of the irony. This post is not just written against them out there but against me as well. May we all boast of the written Word that reveals to us the Incarnate Word.