Disgusting. But amazingly unsurprising.
Daily Archives: 4 Oct 2017
A reminder that October 15, 2017, is the deadline for submitting paper proposals for the 2018 SECSOR meeting. The call for papers is available on the SECOSR website at secsor.org. Proposals are to be submitted through the online submission form available on the website.
The meeting will be held March 2–4, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center. Meeting and hotel registration will be available no later than January 1, 2018.
Faculty, please also encourage undergraduate students to submit papers to the SECSOR Undergraduate Research section (the deadline for this section ONLY is December 15). An Undergraduate Paper Prize will be awarded. Undergraduates are welcome to submit proposals to other sections by October 15. Also, encourage graduate students to submit proposals by October 15; prizes are awarded for the best graduate student papers in AAR/SE and SBL/SE.
Sandra Hack Polaski
Executive Director, SECSOR
You are such an accursed, ungrateful wretch that you will not give a child into training for the maintenance of the gifts of God. You have everything, all of it free of charge; yet you show not a particle of gratitude. Instead you let God’s kingdom and the salvation of people’s souls go to ruin; you even help to destroy them.
Ought not God to be angry over this? Ought not famine to come? Ought not pestilence, flu, and syphilis find us out? Ought not blind, fierce, and savage tyrants come to power? Ought not war and contention arise? Ought not evil regimes appear in our lands? Ought not our enemies plunder us?
Indeed, it would not be surprising if God were to open the doors and windows of hell and pelt and shower us with nothing but devils, or let brimstone and hell-fire rain down from heaven and inundate us one and all in the abyss of hell, like Sodom and Gomorrah. — Martin Luther
Moltmann, as everyone knows, makes a lot of the fact that Jesus suffers and thus suffers along with us when we suffer. Moltmann – in fact – puts all his eggs in the suffering basket. But he does something that is irrational with that basket: he asserts that because Jesus suffered we can feel better about our own suffering.
Boiled down to its essentials, Moltmann’s argument is
- Jesus suffered
- You suffer
- You have a partner in suffering
- This should make you feel better
In fact, however, it is an absurd argument. How is the suffering of Jesus supposed to make those who suffer feel better? Is Moltmann arguing that ‘misery loves company’? How is that any sort of consolation?
No, the fact that Jesus suffers is in and of itself completely unhelpful. That he suffers to the point that he dies, for our sins, in our place: that, and that alone, is comforting. If I am on the rack and the fellow next to me is on the rack, and our bodies are being stretched until all our joints are dislocated and eventually ripped apart, the suffering of the fellow on the rack next to me does nothing for me. But if the fellow pushes me out of the way and takes my place on the rack, and sets me free, then his suffering means everything to me and any suffering I may endure afterwards is paltry and meaningless.
What Moltmann lacks is a doctrine of redemption, which he foolishly and ignorantly replaces with a doctrine of universal salvation. His ‘Jesus suffers with us’ is equally ignorant and foolish. The proper term is ‘for’, not ‘with’.
Moltmann’s entire theological system is built upon a fraud: the notion that we are made to feel better by the fact that someone understands our suffering. But what Moltmann doesn’t know, or isn’t willing to say is ‘the suffering of another, as suffering alone, does nothing for me’.
Moltmann and those of like mind who wish to construct a theological system on their personal feelings are simple modern versions of ancient Gnostics. Moltmannianism is Gnosticism and his ‘god’ is a shadow, a farce, an image projected on the wall of the cave on his own imagination. And so for Christians, his perspective is irrelevant.
Jesus either died ‘for’ us or his death is meaningless to us. And there’s simply no way to avoid this fact and still be considered in any sense a Christian.
How relevant is Martin Luther for today’s Practical Theology? Since the so-called empirical turn in the early 1970s, Practical Theology rarely picked up historical issues – and if it did so, most likely with regard to sermon and pastoral care. In the light of the Reformation Jubilee, the idea to search for impulses of Martin Luther for current practical-theological discourses was fairly obvious.
This book comprises articles, which trace back to two interdisciplinary research conferences, that took place in the Leucorea in Lutherstadt Wittenberg in 2015 and 2016 and were sponsored by the WGTh (Academic Society of Theology), the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany) and the Evangelical-Lutheran Churches of Central Germany and Saxony. The first conference dealt with essential questions such as whether it’s possible and meaningful at all to inquire for practical-theological impulses of Martin Luther for the present, although Practical Theology as an academic discipline was only established in the early 19th century by Friedrich Schleiermacher.
The goodly publisher has provided a review copy.
The aim of the volume is to illustrate the usefulness of Luther for modern practical theology. Nine segments make up the volume, with essays by leading theologians and other scholars for each. These nine segments are
- Martin Luther as Practical Theologian
- Hymnology and Music
- Care of Souls
- Pastoral Theology
These major divisions offer readers important insights into Luther’s thought in modern application. Luther is the fountainhead from which streams an approach to worship, preaching, music, edification, catechesis, and all the rest. Thirty four essays in all.
Each of the contributions provide voluminous material from Luther and draws the connection between Luther’s day and ours. In sum, Luther is still relevant as a source for modern practice on a substantial theological foundation.
This doesn’t mean that Luther is beyond criticism. When necessary, our essayists not only show the ongoing contribution of Luther’s views but critique him when he falls short.
The greatest contribution the volume makes, though, is the dialogue created when the voices of Luther, theologians, church historians, and pastors are all heard on equal footing. Luther’s voice isn’t the most important- it is one of many- and is understood as such. Luther here is not exalted- he is approached as a real dialogue partner. The ensuing discussion is one of the most engaging collection of theologically oriented essays about matters of practical theology produced in many a year.
Pastors especially and those responsible for the life of the community of faith will learn much from this collection. It is superb.
Overwhelmingly, Martin Luther has been treated as the generator of ideas concerning the relationship between God and humankind. The Personal Luther deliberately departs from that church-historiographic tradition. Luther was a voluble and irrepressible divine. Even though he had multiple ancillary interests, such as singing, playing the lute, appreciating the complexities of nature, and observing his children, his preoccupation was, as he quickly saw it, bringing the Word of God to the people.
This book is not about Luther’s theology except insofar as any ideational construct is itself an expression of the thinker who frames it. Luther frequently couched his affective utterances within a theological framework. Nor is it a biography; it does not portray a whole life. Rather, it concentrates on several heretofore neglected aspects of the Reformer’s existence and personality.
The subjects that appear in this book are meant to demonstrate what such core-taking on a range of mainly unexplored facets of the Reformer’s personality and experience can yield. It will open the way for other secular researchers to explore the seemingly endless interests of this complicated individual. It will also show that perspectives of cultural historians offer the broadest possible evidentiary base within which to analyze a figure of the past.