This series, debuting this issue in The Lutheran, is intended to be a public conversation among teaching theologians of the ELCA on various themes of our faith and the challenging issues of our day. It invites readers to engage and dialogue with the ELCA's teaching theologians. The series is edited by Philip D.W. Krey, president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, on behalf of the presidents of the eight ELCA seminaries.
The teaching theologians of the ELCA are among God's gifts to the church. Seminary faculties prepare our leaders in ministry and serve as theological resources for congregations, synods and the whole church.
Contrary to what some may think, our teaching theologians don't always agree in their conclusions but engage in lively debates on a wide variety of matters of faith. They regularly differ in their views; in their interpretations of Scripture; in their understanding of the faith, beliefs and practices of the Christian church; and in how they perceive God's mission and ministry in the world.
This, too, is a gift to the church. As theologians attempt to articulate the meaning of the faith in the same God, in the same crucified and resurrected Christ, and in the same Spirit, they relate the Scriptures, the creeds and the confessions to issues of life in diverse contexts and cultures and issues confronting the church.
In many ways, their opinions can differ because the tradition they study and the Bible they use as their standard offer differing views on the issues that challenge us today. The story of Jesus is narrated to us not in a single Gospel but in four differing interpretations.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers