Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Priestly Rants, The Reformation from Jeremiah's Point of View


Ever since I really soaked up Jeremiah 8:8 and began to think about its implications it has been hard not to think about  God warns through the prophet that we cannot claim to rest in the scriptures and claim that we draw wisdom from that because the lying pen of the scribes have made them into a lie. 

I feel it is useful to build upon what Priestly Rants wrote, the Law was not initially accusatory.  The Law was given for civil governance and, yes, that third use of the Law was in there.  This was actually one of the most important purposes of the Torah, to explain to God's people how they were to be different from the other nations around them.  If we attempt to avoid or disdain the third use of the Law we are not just running roughshod over the Torah in some happenstance way, we are ignoring the reason stated with the Torah as being essential to its coming about to begin with!  As N. T. Wright put it in his book on Justification in response to John Piper, the West might have been better off in its view of the Torah and handling justification if Calvin's fans rather than Luther's fans had had a bit more influence.  Not that there can't be huge problems seen in every team in Christendom but that's some other topic for another time.

One of the more memorable and weird debates I saw back on the unmoderated Midrash was between Pastormark and sorenchurchyard (whom I've never met but still dimly remember).  The debate was whether Law or Grace came first. Several people said Law came first and sorenchurchyard suggested that if anything it would appear to be "grace" that creation was made at all and that grace did, by virtue of that, precede the "law" in the garden.  Things spiraled downhill from there with Mark's fans and sometimes Mark himself behaving badly toward sorenchurchyard.  I got flamed by about three people along the way for pointing out that sorenchurchyard had defended his view ably and that Mark had lost his temper.  Mark apologized but the fanclub didn't.  Even back then Mark's fan club had much the same dynamic it has now.  And we're not even Lutherans here!  We didn't have to go lock-step into a formulaic Law/Gospel distinction.

I could write more, as I often could, but sometimes food for the mind must be subordinated to bodily food. ;)

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