Confession as Prolegomena for Dogmatics

Luther rose VDMEWhy do we study the Confessions so seriously at LTS? For one it is as Dr. Edmund Schlink writes: “The theology of the Confessions is a prolegomenon for dogmatics neither as being an integral part of dogmatics nor as being a secular-scientific entranceway to dogmatics, but as being a part of that way which the Christian must traverse between his Baptism and his speaking in the church’s doctrinal office. Before one can be a father he must have been a child and a youth. No one can become a teacher who has not first become a pupil. It is as a pupil instructed by the church’s interpretation of Scripture that the theologian must himself interpret Scripture in the church and instruct the church. This pupil status is never at an end. Every teacher remains all his life a child of his mother, the church. The theology of the Confessions is, therefore, not a prolegomenon in a temporal sense, but in principle; even though in the schedule of theological training it may precede dogmatics, yet the Confession of the church remains through all of life the place from which our inquiring and teaching proceeds – a place that was given before we ever did any inquiring or teaching.” (Theology of the Lutheran Confessions. Translated by Koehneke & Bouman. Fortress Press, Philadelphia: 1961. Pg. 35)

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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