In a recent post I wrote:
"Like everyone else, I was shocked to hear that Pope
Benedict XVI would be stepping down from his office as pope. Benedict is a tremendous scholar and I have
learned much from his books such as The
Feast of Faith, A New Song for the Lord, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Jesus of Nazareth. It has been said that Benedict has a better understanding
of Lutheranism than many theologians who claim to belong to that confession
today. Naturally the differences that
exist between and the Lutheran and Roman Catholic confessions remain, and those should
not be minimized. Benedict certainly hasn’t"
Those last two sentences were written out of deep respect. In a post-modern world where we are told that there is no such thing as "truth," all that I can ask of a theologian is that he actually believes and confesses what his church teaches. Benedict does. As the years pass I find myself ever more pained by the divisions that exist within Christianity. Yet I have also come to see that where Christians are honest about the divisions and acknowledge them the Church is healthier. People can only speak in terms of truth and error in theology where they believe that God has provided authoritative revelation - a Word that divides truth and error. Benedict does. In the following post Dr. John Stephenson writes, "A deep divide now exists among the theologians of all Western
confessions between those who profess the truth of revelation and those
who do not. If Joseph Ratzinger is not the 'dean' of the worldwide guild
of theologians who belong in the first camp, I don’t know who else
could be nominated for the honorific position." I could not agree more. Dr. Stephenson's brief piece is a beautifully written and thoughtful tribute to a remarkable Christian and theologian.