76:1-2 Sneak Peek

A new issue of the Covenant Quarterly is published at www.covquarterly.com.

Jonathan M. Wilson

Historian and Covenant pastor Jonathan M. Wilson begins this issue with a fascinating article tracing three Lutheran chaplains’ diverging responses to the American Revolutionary War (“The Pietist Chaplains of the American Revolution”). Wilson draws from these historical case studies contemporary application, suggesting finally that “today’s heirs to Pietism might consider reclaiming a framework of non-partisanship, that is, of political non-alignment, as we wrestle with and proclaim the ethical demands of justice, holiness, grace, duty, biblical hermeneutics, and conscience.”

In the previous issue of this publication, Michelle A. Clifton-Soderstrom, professor of theology and ethics at North Park Theological Seminary, contributed an historical survey of Covenant freedom, followed by a constructive proposal for faithful dissent amid conflicting biblical interpretations (“Covenant Freedom: Freedom for All or Free-For All?”). The conversation continues in this issue, which includes responses from

  • Brian Bantum, associate professor of theology, Seattle Pacific University and Seminary
  • Stephen S. Bilynskyj, pastor, Valley Covenant Church, Eugene, Oregon
  • Scott Erickson, head of school, Phillips Brooks School, Menlo Park, California
  • Mark Safstrom, assistant professor of Scandinavian studies, Augustana College, and
  • Klyne R. Snodgrass, emeritus professor of New Testament, North Park Theological Seminary

These responses, along with Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom’s engagement with the questions and critiques they raise, bring further clarity to the nature and limits of freedom, the possibility of unity amid diversity, and relationship of exegesis and contemporary culture. Additionally, they raise further questions regarding the centrality of Covenant ecclesiology and the value of the language of “faithful dissent.”

Respondents, left to right: Brian Bantum, Stephen S. Bilynskyj, Scott Erickson, Mark Safstrom, Klyne R. Snodgrass, Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom (response to responses)

Over the next month, we will be highlighting each article and response, inviting your interaction with each author. We desire the Covenant Quarterly to be a forum for charitable, critical dialogue on relevant issues in pastoral theology. We hope the dialogue printed here will generate further conversation in that same spirit, to the end described by Clifton-Soderstrom: “that we speak well of those in our communion, that we speak directly to those with whom we have issue, and that we commit to each other as members of the same body. In all things,…charity, and real charity requires courage to work through conflict over the long-haul.”

Read the full issue here; read the full Comment here.

Hauna Ondrey