As I prepare to start my fourth and final year at the seminary, I can't help but reflect on my attitudes, knowledge and assumptions from my earlier years. For example, in my first year of seminary I did not know the difference between a theologian of glory and a theologian of the cross. But I did know, upon hearing the two theologies which one I wanted desperately to subscribe to and to follow.
It was the winter quarter of my first year. My wife and I had been invited by the second year field worker at our assigned congregation and his wife to have dinner and spend the evening together. The specific details of the conversation are now vague to me, but the second year guy and I started to talk about things of a theological nature. Before I knew it he was accusing me of being a theologian of glory! I was quite upset by this, even though I wasn't entirely sure what it meant. I have since learned the difference between the two theologies and with God's help and work in my life, I am able to preach and teach a theology of the cross. But I have learned something very important over my 3 + years in the seminary: NEVER ASSUME!
It seems reasonable to me that any LCMS clergy or lay-person would want to follow the theology of the cross. It is biblical and it gives so much comfort. But, alas, not all do. It also seems reasonable to me that non-LCMS types would prefer a theology of glory. If they were theologians of the cross, why wouldn't they just be LCMS?
But, that is not the case. Many LCMS clergy and laity are active and proud theologians of glory and many non-LCMS clergy and laity are very outspoken theologians of the cross. I guess my naivety is just beginning to weaken, but that took me a long time to understand!
What can I do about this?
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. I John 4:1.
How can I test the spirits?
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17