Who is Jeff Kloha? I’m not really sure. During my time at Seminary, I only referred to him as “Dr. Kloha” because he deserved that much.
I never took any classes from him. I do remember him:
1. Being a nice dresser
2. making our softball team regret pitching him a meatball. (He can field 100% of my pop-flies as well.)
3. I remember the cycling community respecting him as a strong competitor.
4. He likes 80’s music.
After that, I really have nothing more to say about him as a person. He is part of the Seminary that taught me to hold fast to our Confessions, something I have learned to be more than just words in my Alaskan parish. Perhaps that will be where you find my bias… because he is a part of the system that, for the lack of a better term, created me. (Whether that’s good or bad, will depend on who you ask).
A few weeks ago, Todd Wilken of Issues Etc fame (http://www.issuesetc.org) “broke” a story regarding Dr. Kloha. In the story, if we are to be honest, implied Dr. Kloha was a a heretic. He made several quotes from the text that were argued to be out of context (by Dr. Kloha himself). To his credit, Rev. Wilken removed said posts from his blog.
Since then we have seen commentaries from:
What I find most interesting about this are the fact that Dr. Kloha reported that the paper had been taken in an unfinished form and published without his permission. He assumed since nothing was cited or credited that anyone reading it would be aware that the paper was in an incomplete state. Alas, that fact never even seemed to cross the minds of any of the theologians who attacked it.
Interestingly, Dr. Kloha has been very consistent in asking that we let him complete the paper, include the proper citations and finally make it a topic for discussion. As far as I can tell, he has maintained this from the beginning. It seems a fair request. I shiver at the thought of turning in a paper at Seminary that didn’t go through four or five drafts before I turned it in… and I don’t believe I was required to write on anything as important as what Dr. Kloha’s paper represents for Lutherans and how we get that book filled with Greek Words we call the New Testament.
So for now, I would ask all the comment hounds and armchair quarterbacks to take a break and give him a chance to complete his thoughts, then for those people who are smart enough to actually HAVE this conversation with him (that excludes me) sit down and have the conversation.
In the meantime, I think some apologies are due to Dr. Kloha and some repenting needs to be done.
It was Hermann Sasse who said “Americans are always concerned about DOING where the Germans are concerned about OBSERVING.” Good words.