Quia or Quatenus?

Lutheran seminarians pick up a lot of Latin (at least they do if they go to a seminary that cares about theology and history). An important question in Lutheran history is the relationship between the Confessions and the Bible. The Bible is the standard, of course–but Lutherans also consider the Confessions a standard. One distinction that is made is that the Bible is considered the “norming norm” (norma normans) and the Confessions are considered the “normed norm” (norma normata). But here’s the next question: does one accept the Confessions quia–because–they are in accordance with Scripture, or quatenus–insofar as–they are in accordance with Scripture? The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod accepts the former view, and expects its pastors to do the same. And all this is preliminary to my link to an interesting post by Paul McCain.

I remain very Lutheran in many ways. I think some of my fundamental reflexes have long been–and will continue to be–Lutheran. There was a time in seminary when I flirted with the quia position. But I think to be faithful to Scripture, and to preserve it truly as the sole authority, it must clearly and unequivocally be distinguished from all other writings–and we must accept them only quatenus–insofar as they are in accordance with Scripture.