I WANT to get dragged in. Every single bone in my body is crying to beat people with my theology. Fight people who I disagree with just about anything on. Wipe the floor with them!

I’m right! They’re wrong! I know the answers and apparently they just don’t. They’re mistaken. I can win. I will win. This is just like some Theological Trivial Pursuit game.

This happens all too often. Theology becomes my hobby. I can beat other people at this Lutheran theology game. I win! I’m the champion!

It scares me when it happens. Theology becomes my hobby. Theology becomes this thing that I can use to place myself above others. It happened in High School. It happens when there are disagreements with just about anyone today.

I really enjoy talking about theology, but all too often I put my trust in my knowledge, in my rhetoric, and in myself.

Where’s Christ? Where is Christ for me? Where is Christ for the world? Those are the questions I try to ask myself when I can feel myself falling back into theology as a hobby. The temptation is great. People disagree on something here. People disagree on something there. Someone who has left the Lutheran Church takes a bible passage out of context and my first instinct is to beat them. Beat them with my superior theology arguing skills.

Unbelief. That’s my sin. I don’t believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for me. I believe in my reason. I believe in me! I believe that I can come out on top. I don’t need help. I have great rhetoric. I CAN wipe the floor with any opponents who come my way. I am the champion, my friend! And, I’ll keep on fighting till the end! (Too cheesy? Yeah.. maybe.)

Death. Resurrection. That’s where Lutheran theology hinges. Not my reason. Not my rhetoric. Not even my beating other people’s bad theology.

Christ died for me! Christ died for you! Christ died for the sins world! Christ died for your neighbor who you disagree with! Christ died for the sins of the atheist, the pentecostal, the mormon and the satanist who thinks you and I are complete morons.

You die too… You have been baptized into Christ’s death. You die daily in your baptism! Your Old Adam is daily drowned. No, not just in the morning. Not just at night. Not when you remember to say your prayers. Your Old Adam is drowned CONTINUALLY in that baptism given to you! Your Old Adam dies! He dies with your lust, your slander, and your hatred of your brother. He dies with your false testimony and your coveting. Your Old Adam dies with your unbelief, in your baptism! Mine too! Dead. Dust. Gone!

You are raised. Raised with Christ. No longer you and your sinful flesh who lives but Christ living in you! Not you living. Not your theology winning. Christ! Christ! Christ! Christ! Christ! Living in you! Christ’s life given to you! Christ’s faith given to you! Christ’s theology GIVEN TO YOU! (Me too!)

That gets lost in the wanting to win. When I want to beat other people with my theology. It’s all about me and me being better than everyone else.

The Gospel, pure theology, gets lost. Lutheranism gets lost when it becomes my hobby.

I like to make theology my hobby. It happens far too often and it is a symptom of unbelief. It’s not a hobby. It’s all about death and resurrection. Daily dying and being raised in Christ.

I fall into unbelief often. My baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection delivers me from that unbelief and from eternal death and the power of the devil. The waters of my baptism work the forgiveness of sins and grant me eternal life.

Theology is death and resurrection.

Christ’s for you.

And yours in Christ!

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