Friday, October 14, 2011

Notes from Book of Faith Consultation: Where Have We Been?

What is the impact and importance of being a Book of Faith church? It has signaled for us that we do have a different hermeneutic (and if we are bold, we might also assert, a more faithful or orthodox one) from the wider culture, but we are not yet sure how to define or articulate that clearly. One of our best definitions is that the Lutheran hermeneutic is "what shows forth Christ," although even this itself can become rigid, and isn't fully comprehensive of a Lutheran hermeneutic.

For the time-being, I'm going to start calling the Lutheran hermeneutic "earthy Christocentrism." So we care about the historical context of a text, and the literal literary words on the page, and we care about our confessional heritage and what it teaches us concerning how to read Scripture, and we care what God is saying to us directly through this text (the devotional read). And we care about all of this because we believe Scripture leads us to care about the real history in which the text was formed, and the very words on the page that has been given to us, and the very interpretive community in which we are situated, and so on.

Book of Faith also signals a renewed focus. In some ways it is renewing what has also been a mark of Lutheranism, a continuing return to Scripture. The original turn in Lutheranism, Luther's reading of Romans and re-reading righteousness as the righteousness of God rather than his own righteousness, was just one in a long line of revitalizations in the faith of the church that was centered in a new reading (which is just the old reading) of Scripture.

In other words, the Book of Faith Initiative is us realizing we read Scripture differently than the majority Christian culture, but we're not sure exactly how we read it differently, or how to articulate it, and this is just us wrestling with this.

It is more about us becoming fluent than proudly displaying our literacy.

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