Lutheran theologians study Paul’s letters for the contemporary church

Cameroonian theologian Rev. Dr Samuel Dawai speaks at the fourth LWF Bible interpretation conference, hosted by Aarhus University in Denmark. Photo: LWF/I. Benesch
Cameroonian theologian Rev. Dr Samuel Dawai speaks at the fourth LWF Bible interpretation conference, hosted by Aarhus University in Denmark. Photo: LWF/I. Benesch

The power of the gospel in shaping Christian identity

(LWI) – A group of 35 biblical scholars from Lutheran and other Christian traditions are meeting in Aarhus, Denmark, for the fourth Bible interpretation conference hosted by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Aarhus University.

The 24-29 September event concludes a series of international hermeneutics (scriptural interpretation) conferences organized by the LWF since 2011. The program seeks to explore how contemporary Lutherans can interpret the Bible together in ways that are faithful to the text itself, relate to the Lutheran tradition and are responsive to different contextual challenges.

Under the theme “The Power of the Gospel: Developing Pauline Hermeneutics,” this year’s gathering brings together leading global scholars from different theological disciplines to read Paul’s letters in relationship to the Lutheran heritage and explore how these relate to today’s political and economic situations.

The phrase ‘the power of the gospel’, which comes from Paul’s letter to the Romans, reflects how he understood the value and meaning of the good news. “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,” noted Prof. Eve-Marie Becker of Aarhus University.

Bringing voices of theologians from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to read Paul is significant for Lutherans, as Paul is considered as one of the important authorities in Lutheran theology.

As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 draws near, “it is appropriate that we go back to the scriptures and to Paul to be reminded of the foundations of the faith,” said Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, LWF study secretary for Lutheran Theology and Practice, who is responsible for this program.

The current conference will conclude the LWF hermeneutics process, which included the study of the Fourth Gospel (John), the Psalms and the Gospel of Matthew. The learning from this process will be consolidated in the publication of an LWF Hermeneutics Statement in 2017, Mtata added.

See the event