Three Questions with John Pless…

Symposium 2016 bannerJohn PlessRegistration is now open for the 27th Annual Theological Symposium, “From Font to Grave: Catechesis for the Lifelong Disciple” (September 20-21, 2016). We have invited a few of this year’s presenters to answer a few questions as they prepare for the Symposium. John Pless is assistant professor of pastoral ministry and missions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he also serves as director of field education. He will be presenting on the sacraments in Luther’s Catechisms.

What first sparked your interest to devote much of your life to the study of Luther’s Catechisms?

I had a very good teacher of the catechism in my childhood pastor. He recognized the catechism’s importance and he taught it with clarity and confidence.

Does any particular feature of Luther’s text stand out to you as especially noteworthy for us today?

A number of features stand out. First, I have come to appreciate how Luther connects elements and aspects of the chief parts to each other. For example, he sets the basis for daily prayer and table of duties in his explanation of the First Article of the Creed. He brings the teaching of Christ’s redeeming work in the Second Article into the exposition of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The “This is most certainly true” becomes the foundation for the Lord’s Prayer. Second, I agree with Oswald Bayer that Luther provides us with a “catechetical systematics.” The Small Catechism (SC) provides a way of understanding the whole of Lutheran theology. Third, the SC is more than a textbook. It is a book for prayer and vocation.

How have you seen your students respond to the catechism over the years?

It has been a joy both in the USA and in South Africa to see students re-discover (or discover for the first time) the vitality of the catechism for preaching and pastoral work.

Register for the Theological Symposium online or by contacting the Continuing Education office at 314-505-7286 or ce@csl.edu. To purchase live stream access, visit store.csl.edu/symposium2016/.

Related posts

Arand and Herrmann, “Attending to the Beauty of Creation and the New Creation”

Arand and Herrmann, "Attending to the Beauty of Creation and the New Creation"


Arand and Herrmann, "Attending to the Beauty of Creation and the New Creation"

The latest Concordia Pages PDF, on finding beauty in the ordinary.

ICYMI: Chanting Luke’s Passion

ICYMI: Chanting Luke's Passion


ICYMI: Chanting Luke's Passion

Every year now, for nearly 20 years, I have chanted one of the Synoptic passion narratives in our chapel service for the Monday of Holy Week. I have also received requests from pastors every year for a copy of my notation of the text, remembering it chanted when they were here as students.  I'm...

Strong on Doctrinal Topics But Weak on the Books of the Bible

Strong on Doctrinal Topics But Weak on the Books of the Bible


Strong on Doctrinal Topics But Weak on the Books of the Bible

Paul Raabe on how the Bible often plays second fiddle.

2 Comments

  1. Barbara E. Paul September 26, 2016
    Reply

    Pastor Pless, I am unable to find an email address for you, this page is as close as I was able to get. You mentioned a study guide for the Robert Benne book, “Good and Bad Ways to Think About Religion and Politics”. Please send me the web address where I can get this.
    Thank you and blessings on you day, Barbara

    • Travis Scholl September 27, 2016

      Thank you, Barbara, for your comment. If you would like to reach Prof. Pless via email, you can contact him at john.pless@ctsfw.edu.

Leave a comment