Doce me!

Over seventy years ago, Martin Franzmann blessed the Church with an article entitled “The Marks of the Theologian” found within the February 1953 edition of Concordia Theological Monthly. The article is comprised of a series of three chapel addresses delivered at Concordia Seminary-St. Louis. Theologians are called to be fools, children, and slaves. None of these are callings envied by the world, yet it is both joy and honor to be a fool for Christ, a child of God, a slave of Christ. As Franzmann expounds upon the theologian’s calling to be a child, he notes how it strips us of arrogance and presumption which must happen for us to be true theologians.

When the brazen idol of our greatness has melted before the blaze of God’s greatness and lies a little pool to reflect God’s glory and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we shall have begun to be Christians, then we have become at least apprentice theologians. This is not an interlude, a subject for a ten minutes’ “meditation” on a Thursday morning. This is a practical and decisive consideration. On this turning, this becoming children, our theology depends, practically. Our response to this word of our Lord will determine, for instance, what sort of exegetes we are going to be; will determine whether we are going to judge the Word of God or let it judge us; whether we shall set out to master the New Testament or let it master us. On our response depends the character of our exegetical scholarship; if we take Jesus’ word seriously and become children, we shall have the only genuinely theological scholarship there is. Genuine theological scholarship is always a by-product: Because he is a child, a beggar and a receiver; because he is a listener; because he would let the Word master him; because he cries out to that Word: “Doce me! Doce me! Doce me!”[1]

Doce me! Teach me! To be a theologian – both within the pastoral office and laity – is to be a vessel ready to be filled. There is always more to learn from the Word and the Word always has more to teach, to give. When it comes to the Word, there can never be too much of a good thing, so theologians say, “More, please.” Always learning, always receiving, always a child looking to the Father for more of His goodness that He promises is bound up in the Word.

It is fitting, therefore, that the first of this year’s Prof Insights workshops (taking place already in April) will focus upon Principles of Biblical Interpretation for Everyone. Twelve more opportunities to cry out Doce me! throughout the course of the summer. The offerings go from Genesis to Revelation and stop along the way with the prophets and the New Testament use of the Old Testament. Doce me! Teach me, O Lord, about what You did in the early Church, and how the controversies of the 1960s and 1970s in the LCMS have shaped Lutheranism in America. Doce me! Teach me, O Lord, faithful preaching and teaching of the faith and how Luther’s soul care applies today.

Join us as we call out to the Lord, Doce me! in the sure confidence that He delights to teach us. See the schedule of presenters, topics, and locations.

[1] Martin Franzmann, “The Marks of the Theologian,” Concordia Theological Monthly XXIV (1953), 89.

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