Monday, August 2, 2010

Athiests - the New Protestants - and Why Lutherans Aren't Protestants

I have often said that Lutherans aren't really "Protestants" - not in the modern American sense of the term. And part of the reason why comes across in this interesting article entitled Here comes the Hair Dryers - where an anthropolist compares the Athiests who did their de-baptizing ritual with your typical American protestant -- and of not, I especially liked the following lines:

"Consider: one side believes it possesses an infallible book written by an omnipotent author with a huge beard with completely explains the dynamics all living things on earth. The other side believes in the literal truth of the bible."

That's just fun, but more importantly for this blog here is the following line:
"Atheist parodic appropriation of Christian identity even comes with (according to the article) a ritual officiant who 'doned a monk’s robe and said a few mock-Latin phrases' before the drying began — and of course there is nothing more protestant than damning your opponent for their popery."

This gets to a the heart of the matter, and why I will not just randomly bash Rome (specific doctrines, sure, just wholesale mockery, no), why I will never claim to be a protestant.

With your typical American Protestant (and also you materialistic athiest) there is this idea that what people knew in the past is bunk but now we are smarter and more wise and know better. The Protestants say "The Church completely disappeared, but now that I'm here, it's all good." There is a disregard for the past, for tradition, for wisdom being passed down.

Lutherans don't despise tradition - we simply don't say that because you can claim something as a tradition for several Centuries that it must be true. In fact, if you look at how we write, our qualms with Rome are when they departed from the tradition and institute something new and say, "Alright, now we have to believe this." It's not that we want to discover "new" truth that no one has ever known - it's that we simply want to remain with the Truth that had always been known. In fact, I'd actually argue that we have a greater respect for Tradition because we don't believe it can be simply changed or created by speaking "ex cathedra".

Now, sadly, many Lutherans are impacted by American society - we have our rationalist leanings like Americans can do ("we're getting better all the time!!!" Really?) We picked up on the cultural bias against Rome -- we need to move away from that. We aren't American Protestants - we aren't religious scientists finding the new truths of Scripture. We are people who simply hold to the same old thing that the Church has taught forever - Christ Jesus died for sinners, of whom I am the chief.

Be wary of thinking you have found something "new". Beware of the latest and greatest wisdom - all that will do is change. Rather, remain steadfast in the simple Word of God as you have received it. And don't go mocking Rome willy-nilly.

Now, mocking Baptists on the other hand. . . okay, go easy on that too.

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