Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Truly Lutheran


For instance, the fundamentalist theory is that God dictated the Bible word-for-word (they hate the word "dictate" and prefer "verbal and plenary inspiration," but their difference is semantical) and that in some mysterious, transcendent way, human authors left their stamp. But while it's not much of a stretch to grant that this is true of the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi or even the Torah, is it the best description of II Chronicles, Esther, or Luke? None of those books have the kind of "thus saith YHWH" tone that the Prophets do. Some will read that as a denial of inspiration, because, like I said, they've got a propositional metatheory of inspiration which serves as the sine qua non of Scripture. This has, of course, echoes of the insistence that if planets were formed by the coagulation of galactic dust due to gravitational forces, then God didn't create them, which likewise requires strict adherence to a propositional framework of what it means for God to create that is thoroughly embedded in rather modern assumptions.


Aside from the fact that Josh doesn’t know the difference between inspiration and revelation—all revelation is inspired, but not all inspiration is directly revelatory—it’s amusing to see an exponent of the Truly Lutheran who attributes to “fundamentalism” a “theory” of inspiration which just so happens to be the traditional Lutheran “theory” of inspiration. Cf. R. Preus, The Inspiration of Scripture: a study of the theology of the seventeenth century Lutheran dogmaticians (Edinburgh 1957).

Paul McCain’s time would be better spent giving his own unlettered flock a course in remedial theological education.


  1. Indeed.

    However, I don't think McCain is up to the task of educating the simple folk after the screed he posted earlier with regard to Calvinism.

  2. Pedantic Protestant (a Lutheran at least in the past or maybe still now -- he explains that) has contributed to this general topic here:

  3. You act like you've made a great discovery when I have in fact admitted before that the theory goes back to the Reformation (in particular Luther, especially the notion that allegorical language is "bad" and literal language is "good"). Being Lutheran means confessing the Lutheran Confessions, not agreeing with everything Luther said.

    Besides, if being traditional automatically made it right, we'd still be Roman Catholics.