For a preview of this issue, please read Wade Johnston's preface:
God truly blessed the editors of LOGIA with a plethora of fine articles for this issue—more than we could fit within the covers. No doubt, we ought not be too surprised. As Luther so wonderfully put it, crux sola est nostra theologia. The cross is indeed never far from Jesus’ Christians—his cross and theirs. It brings us great joy, therefore, to publish an insightful and perspicuous assortment of studies on various aspects of the theology of the cross, suffering, and martyrdom.
Gregory Schulz and Jeffery Warner both wrestle with suffering in the life of the Christian. Schulz tackles suffering and pain in general and provides counsel and comfort for the afflicted and those who minister to them by laying the groundwork for a theology of lament. Warner’s work will surely capture the attention of parish pastors and any who serve the dying, as he sets aside the euphemisms and unbiblical assumptions that so often cloud our view of death and the dying and centers hospital ministry where all theology must find its center: in the cross of Christ and the promises of God.
Three articles shed light upon attitudes toward and teaching about the cross, martyrdom, and suffering from different ages in the history of the church militant. James Bushur sets forth in a highly accessible manner the theology of counsel and wisdom of Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Romans. C. Matthew Phillips distills and elucidates Luther’s theology of suffering and martyrdom while providing a roadmap for those who wish to study the matter further through his careful source work. Finally, Matthew Heise uses the open archives of the former Soviet Union to uncover an account of the life and martyrdom of two faithful Lutheran pastors and the challenges that faced the Lutheran Church of the Soviet Union. These martyrs take their place with all martyrs as an encouragement for those who labor in the Lord’s vineyard, particularly those who are threatened by harm of any sort.
Adam Koontz rounds out our exploration of suffering and the cross with an exegetical study. Examining apostolic suffering in 2 Corinthians, he brings to light key elements of Paul’s theology of the cross and demonstrates the letter’s lasting relevance for Christians enduring suffering in our own day.
Lastly, Scott Murray broadens the scope of the issue a bit with a fruitful, timely, and discerning overview of Lutheran Orthodoxy and Pietism. He rightly notes that Pietism is not simply a movement resting securely in the past, but remains a very real and active force within the Lutheran Church—one that neither the Lutheran pastor nor layperson does well to overlook or underestimate. Murray does more than sound a warning, however. He offers valuable instruction on how to avoid the pitfalls of a dead orthodoxy (without the unfortunate caricatures that too often attend such a discussion) or an enthusiastic piety.
The editors of LOGIA are pleased to bring these articles to print. It is our prayer that they focus your eyes upon the cross of Christ, buoy weak knees for episodes of suffering and cross-bearing, and deepen our readers’ understanding of a truly biblical, Lutheran theology of the cross.