Friday, June 22, 2007

Keeping Up Appearances

Since the beginning of this year, I have been keeping myself busy with several projects -- translating a 300-year-old (Latin, German, French, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, Old English) book, preparing two new classes for CUW's Beloit Adult Education Program, and preparing a presentation for the Augustana Ministerium -- along with trying to keep up with the two parishes I am serving. To say the least, I have been doing quite a bit of reading. As a slow reader, the amount has been daunting and at times overwhelming.

Because of this high demand, I have tried to stay clear of other issues (although they might be very important), so that I can get these other projects completed. I have not been too successful because I am a delegate to this year's LCMS convention and have been trying to make myself as informed as possible on the key issues. And then another issue has drawn me out -- the discussion of Sanctification and the Third Use of the Law.

As I have been pondering this matter, I believe another item can be thrown into the mix -- Theosis.

Theosis (deification) is a key theological issue among the Eastern Orthodox. And those who speak of theosis as the shape of the Christian life sound so much like some Lutherans who are discussing Sanctification/Third Use of the Law. I have seen some dear friends go down the path of theosis away from the primacy of justification. Likewise, in my discussions (heated arguments) with fellow confessional Lutherans, I hear some speaking of sanctification in a way that sounds like 'theosis' to such an extent that it sounds to me that they are moving away from the primacy of justification.

And so, I am planning another series of blog posts under the title "Sanctification, Third Use of the Law, and Theosis."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Magnetic Personality

I usually get a good chuckle from my chinese fortune cookies. Today, we ate a nice Chinese Restaurant during lunch break from the Concordia Catechetical Academy Symposium.

Today's 'fortune' read -- You have an unusually magnetic personality.

It is amazing how well these cookies know me ;)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chemnitz and McNabb

What possible connection could there be between Martin Chemnitz and Donovan McNabb? Well, apparently, my comments about Chemnitz being overrated have irritated some people as have Rush Limbaugh's comments about McNabb. Limbaugh did not say McNabb was a bad quarterback -- only overrated. Likewise, I did not say that Chemnitz was a bad theologian -- only overrated.

Chemnitz is described as a centrist who did not like the vitriolic nature of the controversies among Lutherans. Probably one of the most outspoken Lutherans of the latter half of the 16th century was Matthias Flacius. Apparently, there was no love lost between these two Lutheran theologians.

Flacius chastised those Lutheran theologians who opposed the Augsburg Interim and Leipzig Interim in a quiet, non-confrontational way --among whom were Melanchthon and Chemnitz. It was Flacius's strong, passionate defense of Lutheranism and opposition to the Interims that led to the withdrawal of the Interims and the freedom for other theologians to compose the Book of Concord.

So, did Chemnitz make great contributions to Lutheran theology? Certainly! He is one of the greatest theologians of Lutheranism. But when Lutheranism faced its direst moments after the death of Luther, it was not Melanchthon and Chemnitz who stood up to the forces of the pope and emperor, but men like Flacius and the people of Magdeburg. Historically speaking, if it weren't for Flacius, Chemnitz would not have flourished.

If we want to rate Luther with an A+, then I would put Chemnitz as B+ and Flacius as A-. If Flacius erred in his doctrine of human corruption, Chemnitz erred in being a pacifist in the midst of strife and controversies.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rosie -- The Associate Cat

Our current cat (Athena - the mighty huntress) is going on seven years old. She is a good hunter (of very small to medium-size game). But as we learned from our previous cat (Ashes), even cats can move past their prime and not perform up to expectations and fulfill their office (of keeping the house free of mice and the yard free of rodents). When the gophers were getting closer to the house, we realized Ashes needed help. Athena was added to our household when our previous cat was well past his prime. He was the Cat and Athena was the Associate Cat. Needless to say the Cat and his Associate did not get along. They basically co-existed and tolerated each other's presence in the house and yard. After Ashes' death, Athena assumed the office of Cat.

Well, in a stop-gap effort and to avoid future intrusions by those rodent interlopers, we determined it was time to add a new Associate Cat. So yesterday we introduced "Rosie" as the new Associate. Rosie is Athena's niece and from a good hunting family. As Athena fades from her prime, Rosie should be right there to fill the void. The office of Cat will not be empty and those loathesome rodents can remain in fear.

As you would guess, introducing a new Associate has not been easy. Athena now is sulking outside and avoiding the family. Rosie has been trying to introduce herself to Athena, but Athena knows that Rosie is only after her job. Hopefully with time, the Cat and Associate Cat will adjust to each other and become a fearsome duo warding off the forces of rodently evilness.

So with pleasure we introduce Rosie to our friends and family.

PS - Apparently she likes Runescape.