Just the Facts: Paul's use of Reason

Just the Facts: Thoughts on Paul’s use of Reasoning in Proclaiming the Gospel

Yesterday (july 23), I was reading from the Treasury of Daily Prayer. The New Testament Reading, Acts 19:1-22 stood out to me, specifically verses 8-10 and the words “reasoning and persuading them” and “reasoning daily…so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord…”

I suppose it is not too hard to imagine why the term “reasoning” in both these sections would stand out to me. After all, returning from the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, was just about two daysago. Nevertheless, it echoed what I had heard and learned under the tutelage of Dr. John Warwick Montgomery and Prof. Craig Parton: Gospel first, defense second. It was the “defending” portion which taught us to reason: both to give a reason as weell as to give a reasonable defense of the Gospel to the skeptic, the unbeliever.

Proper Use of Reason: Ministerial OR Magisterial?

In Lutheran theology reason is ministerial, it serves the Gospel. In Calvin and Reformed thinking reasoning is magisterial, it directs interpretation and proclamation. In my discussions with Rev. Brent Kuhlman I learned that reasoning has its place (ministerial) in Lutheranism as it is a servant to us as we proclaim the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus. It aids us in giving the Words of Life to those still dead in their sins and trespasses. However, it never leads the charge in interpretation (as in Calvinism's magisterial view). Reason, then in Lutheran use, takes the role of servant to help us bring Christ to a dying world.