Midwestern Seminary released its Spring 2021 issue of the Midwestern Journal of Theology on May 5, featuring works by members of the school’s faculty and scholars from the broader evangelical community.
The spring edition addresses theological topics ranging from defining biblical theology, reflections on the Third Day and the resurrection of Christ, the Trinitarian thought of Matthew Henry, a careful study of Jesus Christ in the ‘Chinese Enlightenment,’ the life and work of John Newton, reflections on the American Baptist Seminary as the SBC’s “civil rights hub,” and the heart of Charles H. Spurgeon for rural preachers and ministries.
The issue’s penultimate article, written by Greg Scharf, professor emeritus of homiletics and pastoral theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, offers an assessment of the biblical theme of ‘the fear of the Lord’ and its connection as an antidote to “homiletical idolatry.”
President Jason Allen said of the Journal’s recently-released edition, “Dr. Michael McMullen has once again assembled a collection of thoughtful essays from a wide range of gifted scholars. This issue of the Midwestern Journal of Theology will benefit many within the theological academy and the church more broadly.”
McMullen, who also serves as professor of church history, noted he is thankful for the opportunity to work with a talented cast of theologians and scholars on this issue, particularly in light of the hardships many have faced over the past 12 months.
The MJT’s selections begin with James M. Hamilton’s, article “The Definition, Structure, and Center of Biblical Theology.” In the piece, Hamilton seeks to define biblical theology as “the task of understanding the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors.” Hamilton suggests the best way to accomplish this task is to move “book by book” through Scripture, seeking to establish a “central idea on which all the biblical authors agree.” Hamilton serves as professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
The next essay, from Jason DeRouchie, research professor of Old Testament and biblical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, answers a key question: “Why the Third Day? The Promise of Resurrection in All of Scripture.” In the work, DeRouchie analyzes how key Old Testament passages anticipate the “third-day” resurrection of Christ, namely in its description of the resurrection of God’s people following an “exilic death” and its portrayal of the new, multiethnic community of believers made possible by Christ’s ultimate triumph over death.
DeRouchie’s article is followed by a piece from first-time contributor Timothy D.B. Ingrum, entitled “Into Whose Name Were You Baptized? The Trinitarian Thought of Matthew Henry.” Though Henry is widely appreciated for his contributions in the area of biblical studies, Ingrum argues Henry also displayed a “conscientiously orthodox trinitarianism” in his work that was “rooted in exegesis by the analogy of faith and deeply tied to the experience of baptism and ongoing communion with God.” Ingrum is a Th.M. student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
The next essay in the issue is entitled “Jesus Christ in the ‘Chinese Enlightenment’: A Case Study of Chang Wen-Kai’s (1871-1931) Christology.” In it, Baiyu Andrew Song, research fellow and teaching fellow at the Andrew Fuller Center at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., analyzes Chinese theologian Chang Wen-Kai’s “unlearned but high view of Christ.” Song argues that, while Chang’s theological construction may not be considered “sophisticated,” his method is unique as it encompasses a wide breadth of Chinese history and tradition.
Andrew J. Miller’s contribution, “Sick with Sin, Healed with Christ: Lessons from John Newton,” offers a unique perspective about the famed English songwriter-theologian’s thoughts on spiritual sickness and its ultimate cure in the person and work of Christ. Newton, Miller observes, approached the issue with remarkable humility, viewing himself as a “patient under God’s soul care who must follow the doctor’s orders.” Miller serves as pastor at Bethel Reformed Presbyterian Church in Fredericksburg, Va.
The next essay, “The SBC’s Civil Rights Hub: American Baptist Theological Seminary,” offers a fascinating look at the founding and early activity of American Baptist Theological Seminary, a small theological school funded, in part, by Southern Baptists in Nashville, Tenn. in 1924. In the piece, Midwestern Seminary adjunct instructor David Roach seeks to re-examine the “complex and conflicted relationship” between Southern Baptists and the fledgling institution, a school Roach describes as a “hub of civil rights activism.”
In this issue’s penultimate piece, Greg R. Scharf, takes an in-depth look at 2 Corinthians 5:11, noting how the “fear of the Lord” can foster “humility, displace idolatry, and undergird faithful, fruitful preaching.” Scharf works to define the “fear of the Lord” concept according to its biblical contours and analyzes key passages related to the theme from the Old and New Testaments, then traces both positive and negative outworking of the theme in relation to the preacher’s homiletical task.
The closing essay, from Matthew Perry, lead pastor at Arapahoe Baptist Church in Centennial, Colo. and affiliate faculty member at Colorado Christian University, is entitled “Spurgeon’s Heart for Rural Preaching and Ministries.” Melding biographical features from Charles Spurgeon’s life and contents from his teaching ministry, Perry demonstrates Spurgeon’s persistent desire to encourage ministers in out-of-the-way settings. Perry argues that throughout his life, Spurgeon viewed rural areas as “mission fields populated with souls in need of rescue.”
In addition to the scholarly articles, readers will find several relevant and thought-provoking book reviews, many of which are written by Midwestern Seminary doctoral students.
Midwestern Seminary’s Journal of Theology is available in print version for subscribers. To subscribe, contact the Academic Office at (816) 414-3745 or Lduarte@mbts.edu.
Additionally, guests may view the issue in its entirety for free on the seminary’s website, www.mbts.edu/journal.