Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Theologian's Renunciation

Though I hesitate to take on the title, by my studies, I think I must be classed as a theologian.  Yet with the trends popular among many who bear the title "theologian," I sometimes recoil at the very name itself.  I have thought about these positions and ideas that many theologians hold dear to their hearts (or dear to their intellects).  It is with a strong heart, a sound mind, and a firm will that I renounce these opinions.  I declare:
  1. I renounce renouncing the Father.  Though, it is true, God is beyond gender, the First Person of the Trinity revealed Himself under the title of Father: who are we to renounce that title?
  2. I renounce renouncing the Son.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God, one divine Person in two natures, human and divine.  The Councils stated it, and I confess it: anything else is heresy.
  3. I renounce the Spirit's domination.  The Holy Spirit is God, the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity: this I affirm.  The Father and the Son being subordinated to the Spirit: this I deny.
  4. I renounce the Blessed Mother's divinity.  O Theotokos, you are all-pure and ever-virgin, the Mother of God, but you are not a part of the Divine Godhead, and I cannot imagine the pain you must feel when your humanity is rejected and the Trinity is maligned.
  5. I renounce the empty chair.  The See of Peter has not been vacated: Pope Benedict XVI is no hologram.  The Church has a vicar, and he is a German.
  6. I renounce the "symbolic" resurrection.  If I affirm the Pope is no hologram, I also affirm that neither was Christ on Easter Sunday, and neither will we be at the end of time.
  7. I renounce the Godhead's passing.  "God is dead."--Nietzsche.  "Nietzsche is dead."--God.  "We must kill God."--certain theologians.  "Did you see what happened to Nietzsche?"--God.
  8. I renounce the Spirit's failure.  If the Church was leading Christians astray for 1500 years, the Spirit was pretty incompetent for sending Luther so late.
  9. I renounce the class in Biblical Lit.  It's the Word of God, not the word of Ovid: it's the Truth, not a myth: it's inerrant, not aberrant.
  10. I renounce a God without mystery.  If St. Thomas Aquinas thought his Summa was straw, how can my little work plumb all the depths?
  11. I renounce the motto sola ratio.  It's "faith seeking understanding," not "faith equaling understanding."
  12. I renounce "my truth, my choice."  Sorry to break your bubble, but there's only one Truth: you can reject, but you sure can't change it.
I see all these ideas throughout theology today.  The more I read, the more it seems to me that there's a secret creed of untruthful statements that one solemnly vows when one declares, "I am a theologian."
If Aristotle said, "Dear is Plato, dearer still is truth," I say, "Dear is theology, dearer still is truth," and if this is theology, then I renounce it.
If however, being a theologian is more than this: if it is really about truth--not just truth, but the Truth--if it is about the true Triune God, if it is about the Son of God, made incarnate of the Theotokos, Who suffered and died and rose again and left His Church to continue His work...if that is theology, then I embrace it, renouncing the lie that stands in its place.  And I believe that this is the case: so now I can declare, as a son of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church:

I am a theologian.

"Choose then whichever blasphemy you prefer, my good inventor of a new theology, if indeed you are anxious at all costs to embrace a blasphemy...We at any rate will hold fast to the Trinity, and by the Trinity may we be saved, remaining pure and without offence, until the more perfect shewing forth of that which we desire, in Him, Christ our Lord, to Whom be the glory for ever. Amen."--St. Gregory the Theologian

St. Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of theologians, pray for us!

Nota Bene: If I unwittingly fell into theological error in this post, I humbly and sincerely apologize: please inform me so I can correct it and renounce my own error.  If there are any major current theological errors I left out, please inform me, and I will add them.  The quote from St. Gregory the Theologian (a.k.a. St. Gregory of Nazianzus or St. Gregory Nazianzen) comes from Oration 29.10,21, found in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, found in The Faith Database.

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