Theology and Doxology
Wednesday of Epiphany 5
8 February 2017
Theology and doxology are inseparable. Praise of God and faith in Him must spring from speaking about God using the Word of God. The Word's own claims of power unto salvation drive us to confess the truth of the word that we obediently convey to the world in the discipline of theology. The Word of God is never a dead letter, rather being spirit and life, it gives life and salvation to us who are dying and by nature damned sinners.
 
Who, when granted such a salvation, would not break forth in paeans of glory to the God who becomes man for our sakes in Christ? Who would not praise the one who breaks the darkness? Who would not offer prayers to honor the God who debases Himself in our Lord Jesus for our sakes? Theology that does not echo in prayer and praise to God is not theology but self-babble, the blather of those confined to theological navel gazing. It is an abuse of the word theology when it is not also doxology.
 
Praise of God also admits the true limits of theological talk. What God has said we may repeat. What God has not said, we may not say. It is neither theology nor doxology to speculate about what God has not revealed in these last days by His Son. True praise of God thus also includes faithful acceptance of the limitations that God has placed on us to distinguish us from Him. He knows all. We do not. He reveals some things about Himself to us, others He has not. We speak of what we know. We remain silent when we do not. Like rests are music, silence may also be eloquent praise too. Our speculations about God must be made in silence, that God only may be praised.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"The apostolic faith knows in what dispensation of time Christ was created, and in what eternity of times He was born. He was born God of God, and the divinity of His true birth and perfect generation is not doubtful. For in relation to God we acknowledge only two modes of being, birth and eternity. Birth, moreover, not after anything, but before all things, so that birth only bears witness to a source of being, and does not predicate any incongruity between the offspring and the Source of being.
                    
"Still, by common admission, this birth, because it is from God, implies a secondary position in respect to the source of being, and yet cannot be separated from that source, since any attempt of thought to pass beyond acceptance of the fact of birth, must also necessarily penetrate the mystery of the generation. And so this is the only pious language to use about God: to know Him as Father, and with Him to know also Him, who is the Son born of Him. Assuredly, are we not taught anything concerning God, except that He is the Father of God the Only-begotten and the Creator. So let not human weakness overreach itself; and let it make this confession, in which alone lies its salvation-that, before the mystery of the Incarnation, it is ever assured, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, of this one fact that He had been born.
 
"For my part, so long as I shall have the power by means of this Spirit whom You have granted me, Holy Father, Almighty God, I will confess You to be not only eternally God, but also eternally Father. I will never break out into such folly and impiety, as to make myself the judge of Your omnipotence and Your mysteries. My weak understanding shall never arrogantly seek for more than that devout belief in Your infinity and faith in Your eternity, which have been taught me. I will never assert that You were ever without Your Wisdom, Your Power, Your Word, without God Only-begotten, my Lord Jesus Christ. The weak and imperfect language, to which our nature is limited, does not dominate my thoughts concerning You, so that my poverty of utterance could ever choke faith into silence.
 
"For although we have a word and wisdom and power of our own, the product of our free inward activity, yet Yours is the absolute generation of perfect God, who is Your Word and Wisdom and Power; so that He can never be separated from You, who in these names of Your eternal properties is shown to be born of You. Yet His birth is only so far shown as to make manifest the fact that You are the source of His being; yet sufficiently to confirm our belief in His infinity, inasmuch as it is related that He was born before times eternal."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 12.51-52
Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him! (ESV)
Prayer
Heavenly Father, fill my mouth with Your Word that Your words might be sweet to the taste. Help me to silence when You have not spoken that I might only listen to Your speech to poor sinners in Christ. Amen.
 
For Ellen Brda, who is undergoing chemotherapy, that she might be strengthened in body and soul
 
For those who are recognizing the brokenness of their own lives and are seeking healing from Christ, that they might be brought to the Church by us
 
For those who are doubting God's gracious care, that they might attend to the divine Word and be strengthened in hope and faith
Art: MANETTI, Rutilio  Wedding Feast at Cana  (c. 1620)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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