(LCMS News) On the 495th anniversary of the Reformation, Dr. Alister McGrath, professor at King’s College, London, called on confessional Lutherans around the world to continue to “unpack, interpret and translate” the words of Dr. Martin Luther in the contemporary culture.
Speaking on the topic of Witness (martyia) to Lutheran church leaders””who collectively represent more than 20 million Lutherans””from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia and North America, McGrath urged all Lutherans to “go back to this resource [Luther] to enrich the present-day mission.”
McGrath, a leading critic of the New Atheism and an advocate of the importance of theology in apologetics, mission, evangelism, spirituality and social engagement, is also a former atheist whose interest and eventual conversion to Christianity was due in part to his reading of Luther.
Serving as keynote speaker to the International Conference on Confessional Leadership, sponsored by The Lutheran Church””Missouri Synod, McGrath set the stage for a series of follow-up responses from pastors from Taiwan, Nigeria, Brazil and England regarding the relevance and importance of Luther and the Lutheran church in the 21st century.
A failure to share Luther’s insights and the enduring confessional Lutheran perspective with the 21st century, noted McGrath, will result in a “treasure chest” of doctrine that will “remain unopened because the language isn’t understood.”
“It’s much easier to withdraw and not engage with anyone else,” McGrath admitted, “but Luther is a witness to the more uncomfortable truth that we need to be there at the intersection of Christ and culture, bearing witness to the Gospel.”
Tomorrow (Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day), the conference will focus on the theme of Mercy (Diakonia).
Daily news briefs and updates from the conference are available at the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog, LCMS Twitter, LCMS Facebook and KFUO Radio. The conference is made possible by a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.