Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What You Fear Shows What You Value

Pastor Peters asked which is worse, Rome or Geneva in a recent blog post. This plays off of one of my old college statements:

A Baptist is just a Roman Catholic without the Liturgy or Sacraments.

I think you can defend this statement -- there is some focus on Christ, but then things shift to my works very quickly... even more quickly in Baptist theology. So it had always confused me why so many Lutherans seem more ready to ally or team up with the Reformed than with Rome -- and especially Reformed that are... radical, and do things like deny infant baptism or reject the creeds.

To be honest, there is another difference between a Baptist and a Roman Catholic. The Baptists jettison the Pope.

Here is my contention - look at the other denominations, and think about which ones annoy you more or less -- and you can learn from this. You'll figure out what errors you fear most -- which highly what you value most.

Many Lutherans, at least in America, highly value independence - the idea that you can't tell me what to do, that I can do what I want. I get this - it's something I tend to like myself, and I can be death on legalism. Hence, there's a lot of fear of the Pope, who might take that away. (In fact, my Roman Catholic friends have often say that we Lutherans pay more attention to the Pope than most [Roman] Catholics do).

But that's not my greatest fear. I fear losing the Sacraments. I fear losing the Gospel - the working of God upon me in the Word, in Baptism, in the Supper. If you lose that, legalism or worse is inevitable. Hence... I'm not nearly as freaked out by Rome or the specter of the mean Pope being a tyrant as I am... losing worship and the Sacraments.

Think about what annoys you in theology, what you value. This will show you what you really value.

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