How can the power of the gospel shape Christian life?

Prof. Eve-Marie Becker introduces an LWF consultation that will discuss ways in which the power of the gospel can inspire global discourse about Christian life and identity in today’s social, political and cultural settings.

In times when highly ambiguous global power plays gain traction in politics, the economy, sports and the military, it is perhaps not surprising that Lutheran theologians reflect on the power of the gospel.

This expression — coined by Paul in his letter to the Romans in the middle of the first century — reflects how the apostle understood the value and meaning of the early gospel message as his individual apostolic ministry by which he wanted to disseminate the gospel globally.

Generations of Christians have been inspired by Paul’s ambition and dynamic efforts but Luther might be one of the most impressive exponents of gospel interpretation in early modern times.

Lutheran theologians from all parts of the world thus share the privilege to join both of those inspiring traditions of gospel hermeneutics: Paul’s tradition as much as Luther’s.

In a series of international consultations (2011-2015) that endeavor to re-evaluate the principles of scriptural interpretation, scholars from all over the world met in Nairobi, Eisenach and Chicago to reflect on the contemporary interpretation of various biblical texts: the Fourth Gospel (John), the Psalms and the Gospel of Matthew.

It is a pleasure for Aarhus University to host the fourth international LWF hermeneutics consultation, The Power of the Gospel: Developing Pauline Hermeneutics, to be held 24-29 September, in Aarhus, Denmark.

Scholars will return to the literary and theological origins of gospel interpretation that we find in Paul and his letters. By bringing together exegetical, hermeneutical and theological expertise from all parts of the world, this year’s conference seeks not only to reconsider the Pauline tradition of gospel interpretation from a Lutheran perspective and in light of current scholarly debates in New Testament studies but to develop Pauline hermeneutics in a sense that the power of the gospel can be explored as a crucial paradigm by which we can most appropriately express what Christian identity in the twenty-first century is actually about.

The Power of the Gospel might open up ways for ingeniously revisiting ways in which Pauline hermeneutics can inspire global discourses about Christian life in its various societal, political and cultural settings.

Dr Eve-Marie Becker is professor of New Testament exegesis in the Department of Theology, Institute of Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.