Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Dangers of Intellectual Backwash

Intellectual backwash is a very dangerous thing for a theologian, indeed, for the Christian.  We know the direction things are supposed to run - our theology is supposed to shape everything, including how we view life and the world and things of the kingdom of the left.

I can give a simple example of theological backwash - women's ordination in the US.  Let's admit it - there's nothing in the Scriptures that calls or demands for it.  It's introduction wasn't a matter of obvious and necessary reform where the Church had gone astray and needed correction (such as in the Reformation when Rome denied the chalice to the laity).  It was intellectual backwash.  The tenor of the day was equality and liberation, and that sort of thinking sort of backwashed into theology, and then the theology started changing to accommodate the culture.

I don't imagine that there would be too many regular readers of this blog who would quibble with that depiction of history.  That's a matter of bringing social baggage.  It's funny, it really is such an American and European issue - you don't have folks agitating for it in the rest of the world because there isn't that societal pressure.

Now for the transition.

I love politics.  I do.  I enjoy watching the political game and the like.  I find it fascinating.

The problem is I'm seeing a lot of theological backwash... and that isn't good.

Let's do a simple little experiment.  Go back and just look at what you were writing, what you were saying, what you were arguing was important, oh, 8 years ago.

You know, back when there was Abortion, and some Gay marriage, and all the ills that are harped upon now.  But did they dominate your thinking, your teaching?  Did you point to virtue and ethics nearly as much... or were you content to be theological - that is, were you content to point to Christ and Him Crucified?  Was the solution to the world not better people but "Thy Kingdom Come"?

We have a lot of theological backwash today in the LCMS.  President Obama's election freaked a lot of people out, there was terror - and it crept into how we approached theology.  We started talking like the religious right instead of what we are.


The Kingdom of the Right and the Kingdom of the Left. 

Law and Gospel.

Obedient Rebels.

Determined to know nothing but Christ and Him Crucified.

So, O Lutheran, what happened to you?:  What do you see when you look out on the world?  People to be fixed (or at least contained), or sinners needing first and foremost Christ and redemption?  A world to be saved, or a Christ who died for the world and will come again to bring us new Heavens and a new Earth?

Are you suffering from theological backwash?

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