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What Luther Says

VIDEO: 'When To Wit And When To Wait - The Use Of Snark In Lutheran Confession'

I recently mentioned the impact that the "When Heterodoxy Hits Home" Conference had on me personally (and I wasn't even there!) once I realized the presence of sin in my heart whenever I attempted to combat such heterodoxy in the church today.

Now that the video versions of each presentation are available, I want to look at each lecture one-at-a-time and simply note some of the key highlights for you as they convicted me when I first listened to them.

Pastor Hans Fiene: "When To Wit And When To Wait - The Use of Snark In Lutheran Confession"

*- The reality of "Theological Boxing Matches"

*- "'Snarky' means 'Testy or irritable in a rudely critical tone' or, in other words, Lutheran."

*- "The first goal of snark is for the sake of the teacher. In other words, the goal of snark is for the false teacher to knock his teeth out so that he can reevaluate when the words he wants to speak are actually true. So you're punching through the nonsense, the idiocy, so that he can see clearly what the issue is."

*- "The second point of using snark is for the sake of the one who's falsely taught. So, for those who get swayed by this veneer of 'Can't-We-All-Get-Along,' or whatever it may be, so that you're punching through that so that those who are kind of watching on the sidelines and those who might be caught up in false teaching, ... the point is to say 'No, you have two competing views of who Christ is and how His salvation works!'"

*- Loved his comments on what he called "Theology By Biography"

*- I'm really glad he spent some time defining the "Cage Stage" because I was wondering about that all this time (and because it definitely applies to me!)

*- Questions to ask yourself to determine if and when to employ the use of snark: "Has this person stepped into the ring? Has this person consented to sparring with me?"

*- Questions to ask yourself to determine if and when to employ the use of snark: "Does this person need to be knocked out or taught how to block? Am I dealing with a hardened heart or is this a person you're dealing with in meekness?"

*- Questions to ask yourself to determine if and when to employ the use of snark: "Do you need to knockout the false doctrine or the false teacher?

*- Jesus Himself used snark! In Matthew 23, He didn't just go after the Pharisees' doctrine, but He went after them personally., because they had the vocation of teacher and they ultimately put themselves in the way of salvation through the Gospel.

*- Jesus treated things much differently (gently) with the woman at the well

*- "If you're a Pastor, you're automatically in the ring."

*- Nicodemus was a public false teacher, but Jesus treats him differently too (treated him in gentleness for specific reasons that are clear from the passage of the text)

*- Elijah's a great example of when and how to use snark

*- The Apostle Paul chastised the Galatians with the use of snark

*- Pastor Fiene's comments on the passage from 1 Corinthians 13 where St. Paul addresses speaking in tongues around the 35-minute mark was oh so timely for me given my recent experience just a few days ago with "Pastor Ted"

This was the one lecture I was most looking forward to due to the allegations that have been thrown at me in the past year.

I find it incredibly ironic how most people who refuse to engage in any kind of doctrinal debate always default to "love" and will go on-and-on about "What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)?" as their favorite line of defense, but then when you yourself try to take their advice and apply WWJD? to the conversation by resorting to the appropriate use of snark, they get all offended.

See, that's why I think this entire topic boils down to the fact that most people simply haven't been catechized properly (well, duh!). More than that, they really don't know their Bible as well as they think they do. If they did, then they would be well aware of all the examples that Pastor Fiene gave that clearly demonstrate that there are cases when using snark is not just appropriate, but it's called for.

I'm sure many of you are already familiar with The Lutheran Satire, but check them out right away if you're not for more from Pastor Fiene.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, don't feel guilty about using snark when dealing with false teachers and/or those deceived by false teaching as long as you've asked yourself those key questions to know when to wit and when to wait.

NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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