Friday, June 27, 2008
Blog Pong, II
The game is evidently still on.
Dan Woodrung has served up a new volley, quoting my reference to the Augsburg Confession (that the Church is present wherever her Gospel is preached and her Sacraments administered rightly), and asking, "Who determines the 'rightly'?"
My reply is that, in the first place that question does not require an answer for the statement to be true. It simply is true, regardless of who determines what about it. This is the ubi question, not the qua; it is a confession of where we may find the Church, not about what the Church is.
And that, as it turns out, does speak to the question of who determines. In the 1519 Leipzig debate, Eck asked Luther a similar question: who interprets Scripture? (this goes back to a recent post of mine) . . . who interprets? You, Martin Luther? To which, if I remember this rightly, Luther replied, Yes.
Similarly, who gets to decide the 'rightly'? I do.
Now before anyone launches into a diatribe about how silly that idea is, let me remind you that I've heard all your replies already, a hundred times. Spare your fingers.
Here is what I mean. St. Paul says, "I know whom I have believed . . ." How does he know? Because Peter told him to say this? Because he was accepted into the apostolic council? Because he knows he is an apostle himself? Does not Paul's assertion here provide a pattern for every Christian to follow? Must we not all learn to say the same? Then how is it that I know whom I have believed?
I do not say "I know" because the bishop told me to say that. I say it because I really do know. I do. No one knows this for me and tells me. It is an existential thing, really. Does that make me a charismatic or an existentialist? Certainly not, no more than it makes the Apostle one.
To be sure, the ecumenical councils, the creeds, the confessions -- these verify what I know, they affirm it. But they do not do my knowing for me. Nor, even, does Scripture.
It's not that I determine the 'rightly', really; it's that I recognize it. I recognize it because I know whom I have believed.
Granted, that's a sticky wicket, but it's true.