Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good News, Bad News, Our Views

Martin Luther wrote and taught and preached a theology of the word
    "with the theologian already drawn into the stuggle between God's "good news" in Christ and Satan's "bad news" in the temptation to become God (Gen. 3:5). Luther saw no neutral ground between the gospel and Satan, between God's revelation in Christ and the mysterious opposition to it by hardened hearts. . .The Christian theologian must concentrate on what God has disclosed rather than on what is mysteriously hidden. Luther expressed the most important aspect of his theological method, which is the hallmark of the way Lutherans learn to talk about God." A history of Lutheranism by Eric W. Gritsch, (Augsburg Fortress, 2002), pp. 42-43.
That's about the best explanation I've read on why so many Christian authors don't appeal to me. When I see "mystery" or "secrets of" or "how to" in the title or sub-title of a book or video series, I know it will be a snooze for me. If God kept it so well hidden that it took a Rick Warren or a TV preacher warning about the signs of end times, or a weight loss guru with Bible verses, then perhaps he didn't want me to find it. Actually, I don't meet many Lutherans who read anything Luther wrote. I think they assume that a 16th century writer couldn't speak to today's problems, or that he might be difficult. He isn't; he's delightful, and clear, and writes on every imaginable topic, but always from the middle of the good news/bad news struggle--never off from afar as an observer. He's got every tool to fight the humanist's vision as man at the center of the universe, if we'd just use them.
    We have to argue one way about God or the will of God as preached, revealed, offered and worshipped, and in another way about God as God is not preached, not revealed, not offered, not worshipped. To the extent, therefore, that God hides and wills to be unknown to us, it is no business of ours. . . God must therefore be left to God in divine majesty, for in this regard we have nothing to do with God. But we have something to do with God insofar as God is clothed and set forth in the divine word, through which he offers himself to us. Luther's Works, vol. 33:139

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