Wednesday, December 28, 2022

So what!

Recently, on another forum, a discussion of the role of women in the church (always good for some lively debate) offered another version of a tired old saw.  It seems that someone had been doing research and found that not only did blessed St. Patrick not banish the snakes but he might have tolerated some homosexuality, bestiality, and women serving as bishops/abbesses.  So there.  If he did it, it must be right.  If he tolerated it, so must we.  If he did not attack it, neither should we.  Sort of the domino theory in reverse.

So the meaning is clear -- if Christendom or any somewhat authoritative representative of Christendom ever tolerated or failed to condemn homosexuality, then we are bound by that example to respect the example for our own time and it does not matter what Scripture says.  If Christendom or any somewhat authoritative representative of Christendom ever tolerated or failed to condemn, or perhaps even approved/participated in the ordination of women as priests or deacons (bishops even?), then it does not matter what Scripture says, we are bound by the exception as well as the rule. 

Oh my, this could be a boon to heresy and apostasy!  Since some Lutheran congregations practiced online communion, we are bound to accept all the way around. You can fill in the blank with your favorite thing or your favorite thing to criticize and see how that works for you and for the rest of the Church.

Every example, whether from the mainstream or an isolated fringe, becomes evidence to challenge the rule and the clear teaching of Scripture.  My answer is so what?  What exactly does that do to the truth to admit and even herald the examples of lies or half truths or errors?  Nothing.  The truth remains whether or not we accept it or approve of it.  It is, by nature, the truth after all.

When someone does research into what someone might have done in the name of orthodoxy or tolerated along the way, that evidence is evidence of nothing substantive except our own ability and tendency to tolerate lies, half truths, and error --- nothing more and nothing less.  Only a fool would suggest that the Church has ever been without those who have preached and taught error as truth.  The issue is not what we have tolerated for whatever reason we have tolerated it, but rather what the Word of God (and, I might add, our own Confessions) say.  Just as I would say this to diminish any argument for the acceptance of the LGBTQ alphabet soup, so I would say it to those who say it matters more what Lutherans did liturgically than what they say confessionally.  Occasionally practice is a high point but the truth always falls flat when it comes up against the way we have always done it here or the way we want it done here.  That is how error operates best -- exceptions become norms and norms allow for more exceptions until nothing is true and everything is what we judge it to be in our own eyes.  It is, in effect, the most childish sort of argument.  But it has worked in the past, so do not look for errorists to take this one out of their tool kit anytime soon.

1 comment:

Janis Williams said...

A new take on the old saying your mother had: “If St. Patrick jumped off a cliff, would you?”