Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Today's 11:11, August 9, 2017

Today, during the second day of the Braaten-Benne Lectures (part of the North American Lutheran Church's annual Lutheran Week), Dr. Gordon Isaac talked about what Martin Luther said made a person a good theologian.

Isaac emphasized that literally everyone is a theologian. Everyone has to decide what they believe about God. The only question is whether they're good or bad theologians.

Luther said three things makes a person a good theologian:

  • Prayer
  • Meditation (on God's Word)
  • Spiritual trials

Luther insisted that these were the indispensable qualifiers for good theologians, people who know God and can articulate God's truth, not as an abstraction, but out of intimate knowledge of the God, Who when He took on flesh in Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

Luther's qualifiers for good theologians ring true to me. As in any relationship, time is essential. People who say that their relationships are built on quality time, if not on quantity of time, don't know much about relationships. As someone has said, love is spelled T-I-M-E.

Prayer that is more than perfunctory...

Meditation that is attentive consideration of bits and pieces of God's Word, approached as His Word to us...

Facing the trials to our spiritual lives, to our faith in and relationship with God, with God...

These are the ways in which we become good theologians.

Through prayer, meditation, and spiritual trials, we learn that when we come to the ends of ourselves, God is still there.

We learn that when nothing in this world makes sense, God makes sense.

We learn that when we are weak, vulnerable, and incapable of going on, the time we spend with God in prayer, meditation, and spiritual trials, yields deeper faith and good theology.

It's only when we endure Good Friday times with God that we experience Easter Days with Him. And it's how anyone who dares can become a good theologian.

As Luther would say, "This is most certainly true."

[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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