I waited for quite a while, but I couldn’t keep silent on some concerns I have after reading Dr. Paul Maier’s article in the March issue of The Lutheran Witness.
In today’s world, far too many people question the authority of the Scripture. Some place it (the Scripture) on the same level or, as is often the case, on a lower level than other literature. It is not acknowledged for what it is—the divinely inspired, inerrant word of God. The theological ramifications of this were seen in the “walk out” of our St. Louis Seminary faculty and students in the 1970’s. The mindset of this higher critical thinking has caused immeasurable damage to our Synod and the church.
While I am sure that Dr. Maier doesn’t subscribe to the higher critical thinking that the bible must be authenticated by outside sources, a reader might get that idea from this article. His statements that “we can check on the reliability of the biblical record” and “biblical information is sometimes more accurate and detailed than the secular.” reflect an attitude that the bible needs the verification of an outside source in order to be deemed trustworthy.
Dr. Maier’s closing comment of “As a ‘test’ for the reliability of the Passion account, give the Gospels high marks indeed!” indicates that he is aware of the treacherous ground on which he is walking. He fails, however, to make any statement acknowledging the inerrancy of the biblical text and its status as the norm and rule in determining the truth of a matter, not simply as one document among many equals.
I would hope that you might have some statement of Dr. Maier’s rejection of higher critical thinking in a later publication, so that our readers don’t think that he or we subscribe to or condone this theology.
Lift high the cross.
Your Servant in Christ,
Rev. David Mommens
Send letters to “Letters,”
c/o The Lutheran Witness,
1333 S. Kirkwood Road,
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295;
or send them via e-mail to Lutheran.Witness@LCMS.org.