Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Theologia Viatorum

From the introduction to The Doctrine of Man in the Writings of Martin Chemnitz and Johann Gerhard:
The patristic and scholastic ages shared a conviction that there can be no real contradiction between the statements of revelation and those of reason when working in a truly responsible way, except that reason is inherently inadequate for grasping the eternal truth without the aid of faith. And even in this case we are looking in a mirror darkly and seeing enigmatic forms (1 Cor. 13:12).

In this respect Lutheran Orthodoxy agrees firmly with the patristic and scholastic traditions. It is persuaded that there is an ultimate harmony between faith and right reasoning. In spite of the heresies which these theologians see to have arisen out of the philosophical schools, they show a broad appreciation of philosophy both as a method of systematic thinking and as the ceaseless quest of an inquiring mind.

Yet, the members of the Orthodox tradition do not claim that even the best possible human theology will attain to the formal perfection of a “closed system.” Our theology at its best is not “archetypal,” that is, the wisdom of God himself; it can only be “ectypal,” a reflection of God’s revelation within the limited human mind. What we possess is the theologia viatorum, the theology of travelers, who are not yet at their heavenly home and lack the comprehensive knowledge given to the blessed after the resurrection.
Martin Chemnitz and Johann Gerhard, The Doctrine of Man in the Writings of Martin Chemnitz and Johann Gerhard, ed. Herman A. Preus and Edmund Smits, (St. Louis: CPH, 2005) xvi-xvii.

photo credit: VisualAge


Anonymous said...

I'll bet Emergents would love this one...if you could edit out the orthodoxy parts...

Scott Diekmann said...

They would certainly admire the "traveler" part of it. The EC seems to lack any sort of coherent theology though, and views systematic theology with disdain. To mention Chemnitz or Gerhard in the same post with anyone from the EC would be a conflict of interest.