The Latest News from Prof. Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

Although Prof. Wilson left her full-time post at the Institute a year ago, she remains busy as a Visiting Professor of the Institute in a number of venues in the United States.

In the past several months she has given two public lectures at the Concordia University-St. Paul, a Minnesota college affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. The first was the annual Reformation Heritage Lecture at CSP, entitled “Remaking the World with Law and Gospel.” She explored common misunderstandings of Luther’s distinction between law and gospel as a way to offer a fuller and more accurate portrait of this central Lutheran teaching. The second was a convocation for students, “Martin Luther and Women: Breaking the Law and Proclaiming the Gospel.” Beginning with the intriguing fact that Luther’s dying act was to break the law in favor of a woman—namely, by leaving everything to her in his will—Wilson told the stories of three sixteenth-century women who heard the gospel as Luther taught it and responded each in her own way: Katharina von Bora, Elisabeth Cruciger, and Argula von Grumbach.

Prof. Wilson also spent two weeks as the Copenhaver Scholar in Residence at Roanoke College in Virginia, where she delivered three public lectures, took part in the Lutheran Writers Projects, joined two panel discussions, taught several classes, and visited with students. Of particular interest was her lecture on “Martin Luther and Global Pentecostalism,” in which she looked at early Pentecostals’ appeal to Luther, Lutheran Charismatics’ efforts to integrate confessional Lutheranism with charismatic practice, and contemporary Classical Pentecostal use of Luther’s theology of the cross. A student respondent from the Assemblies of God expressed her appreciation at having her own faith tradition validated by receiving serious academic attention at a Lutheran college.

Prof. Wilson has kept in touch with the larger community of the Lutheran World Federation by serving as the North America region jury member for the Youth Preaching Contest. Approximately forty sermons were submitted for evaluation; the jury read all of them and graded them, and the top ten finalists were invited to submit video excerpts from their sermons. The winner, soon to be announced, will preach the closing sermon at the Assembly in Namibia this May.

Finally, the Luther Reading Challenge sponsored by the Institute and overseen by Prof. Wilson is down to its last half-year before the anniversary. A vast collection of Luther texts is available for free on the website. It’s not too late to join!