Johnson Thomaskutty’s Paper During the “Faith and Theology Conference” in Wittenberg, Germany

Posted: October 16, 2017 in General

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In Wittenberg, Germany, Evangelisch-Theologischer Fakultätentag, Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Theologue and Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) organized an academic conference with the umbrella theme “Glaube und Theologie. Reformatorische Grundeinsichten in der ökumenischen Diskussion” (“Faith and Theology: Basic Insights of the Reformation in Ecumenical Debate”), during the 500th anniversary of Reformation. The conference was held during 10-12 October 2017. The concept paper of the conference describes the theme as follows:

Since the beginning of Christianity, there has been a fundamental tension between faith and theology (if theology is understood as a rational reflection of faith which is internally coherent and can be communicated in intersubjective discourse). The Reformation, with its principle of sola fide on the one hand and its institutionalization of a Scripture-based academic theology on the other hand, drew particular attention to the tension between faith and theology and suggested new answers to that problem. That effort contributed to a fundamental transformation of academic theology within the faculties of Protestant Theology which emerged as a result of the movement. On the occasion of the anniversary of the Reformation, it is fitting to acknowledge the achievements of academic theology in the Reformers’ tradition.

During this grand occasion, my paper was an attempt to see how faith and theology interact constructively and contextually in the Johannine community, in the Reformation traditions, and in the post-Reformation India. The paper was entitled, “Faith and Theology in the Johannine Community and in the Reformation: A Paradigm in the Indian Context.” The following paragraph introduces the basic questions of the paper.

My paper deals with the relationship between the faith of the believing community and the theology within the academic set up. The Reformation Movement with its emphasis on sola scriptura, sola fide, and solus Christus, attempted to build a bridge between faith and theology. While the Reformers derived their fundamental concepts and theological ideas mostly from the Pauline corpus, in the current investigation I seek to explore the connection between Johannine understanding of faith and theology and its significance in the Reformation context. The following questions are given prominence here: how the Johannine community dealt with the issues of the relationship between faith and theology in their personal and corporate living? How the Reformers followed the ideology of the Johannine community in their interpretative endeavors in relating the faith in the ecclesiastical set up and the theology in the academic circles of their times? How the Reformation movement influenced Indian Christianity and its reinterpretation of faith and theology? How the Johannine community aspects remain as a model to the Reformers and also to the post-Reformation Indian believers/scholars to develop their ideological and theological framework? An attempt is made to analyze the way Christ-centered interpretations at work in the Johannine, in the Reformation, and in the Indian Christian contexts. At the integrative level, we will also explore the analeptic (to the Johannine community) and the proleptic (to the Indian Christian context) connection of the Reformation Movement. The unique feature of the Reformation, as it relates to both the biblical past and the global future, gives us a significant outlook concerning the movement and its growth. The presenter, first of all, as a Johannine researcher, analyzes the aspects of faith and theology within the narrative framework of the Gospel of John; second, as a person with profound influence from the Protestant theology, ponders deep into the connection of these two areas in the Reformation traditions; and third, as an Indian, researches about the impact and influence of the Johannine and the Reformation principles both in the historical and in the contemporary Indian scenario.

By Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.

  1. Thang Nen Mung says:

    It is a scholarly work on the Johannine understanding of faith and theology. Good questions brings great answers to the hearers.

  2. Dear Dr. Johnson, my hearty congrats for your presentation at Faith and Theology Conference.

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