Category Archives: Mark Allen Powell

Broader Perspectives on The Gospel of Matthew: The LWF Consultation

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Marie Sager is a senior Master of Divinity student, interesting in sharing the love of God with all she meets, interfaith dialogue, global ministry, and decorating cupcakes. The LWF Conference continues to dwell with many of our students and Marie shares her insight!

The first week of class, LSTC was host to an extraordinary event, the Lutheran World Federation Consultation on Lutheran Hermeneutics and the Gospel of Matthew. As part of my Matthew and the Global Hermeneutics class I was able to sit in on multiple papers, from presenters from all around the world.

Many of the papers presented discussed the distinction between law and gospel and made reference to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). One paper that I found helpful in talking about law and gospel, was the paper presented by Mark Allen Powell, “Gospel of Matthew: Implications for Hermeneutics.” Powell talked about how in preaching, the Word must be proclaimed, both the law and gospel. However, law and gospel are not “genres of biblical literature.”[1] The law is not just commandments and the gospel is not just promises, but law and gospel are ways that the word of God impacts its hearers.[2] Lastly, Powell said that preachers should proclaim the word in terms of law and gospel, but exegesis should not always be in terms of law and gospel.[3]

Another paper that caught my attention was by James Reynolds, “Healing in the Gospel of Matthew and Africa.” As someone who has spent time in Tanzania, Africa, this paper was interesting because of the discussion regarding what a healer is in Africa and what a healer is in the Gospel of Matthew. Reynolds described a healer in Africa as a herbalist, medicine man/woman, and a traditional doctor.[4] However, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is the only healer.[5] The distinction between begin able to  heal versus cure has consistently intrigued me. Does it for you too? What about healing versus using magic? Reynolds said that in Africa, most of the healings are done using physical materials like clay, herbs, and leaves of trees.[6]

The final paper I resonated with was by Joseph Dayam. Dayam’s paper “A Theology of the Cross and the Passion in Mathew: An Indian Dalit Perspective” resonated with me because of the lyrics that were presented, and because of my time spent in India in January of 2013 with a class from LSTC. One of the main things that I took away from Dayam’s presentation was that people express their lives in song. I agree with this statement, and while I was on internship last year, I tried to integrate songs that I love that express my faith while still including songs that the people of my internship site related to.

Lastly, I am grateful to be a student at LSTC. It continues to amaze me at how many different events LSTC either hosts or suggests students to attend that are interfaith, ecumenical, or multicultural. The LWF event was one of these. As said before, there were participants from all around the world, and even a few Jewish scholars. That begin said, if you The Window readers ever get a chance to attend a LWF event, do it!

[1] Mark Allen Powell, “Gospel of Matthew: Implications for Hermeneutics,” 5.

[2] Powell, 6.

[3] Powell, 13.

[4] James Reynolds, “Healing in the Gospel of Matthew and Africa,” 6.

[5] Reynolds, 4.

[6] Reynolds, 6.