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James Edwards
(1997-present), Professor of Theology

 


Greetings, dear friends and former students! 
Highlights of the past year include:

  • Completion of 15 gratifying years teaching at Whitworth;
  • A $50,000 grant from the Welch Family Foundation to the theology department, to be used primarily for tuition assistance for majors;
  • Continued joy and progress in the writing of my commentary on the Gospel of Luke for the Pillar New Testament Commentary series (Eerdmans);
  • Collaboration of three keen students, Amy Erickson, Travis Niles and Rachel Toone, as research assistants in my Luke commentary project;
  • The Friday morning breakfast and fellowship group that my wife, Janie, led with a half-dozen women theology graduates who lived in Spokane this past year;
  • Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of my quarterly theological newsletter, The Edwards Epistle, now available in an online format from the Christian Leadership Center http://www.clcumary.com/ (search "Edwards Epistle" on the home page).
  • Presenting the Berger Lectures at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and a special lecture commemorating the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible at Whitworth, both in April 2012;
  • A stimulating Core 650 study program to Turkey in May 2011 with trustees, parents and friends of Whitworth;
  • An equally stimulating 2012 Jan Term study program in Germany, studying the Reformation and German Church Struggle of the 1930s, with my colleague Adam Neder and 17 students;
  • Teaching the adult Bible class on the Gospel of Luke at Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church in spring 2012.

The above are icing on the cake. The cake at Whitworth is the classroom, and the outstanding colleagues in the theology department with whom I am privileged to work.  This past year I introduced a new course on the Gospel of Luke in conjunction with the writing of my Luke commentary. Teaching and preaching from scripture take me a step further than simply writing about it, forcing me to get to the heart of the matter and express it with clarity, insight and application. Students are wonderful teachers, and my commentary will be the better for their teaching. I also taught Romans, Paul's forceful presentation of the gospel, which yet again reached into the lives of students with transformative effect. What a joy to see the word of God come alive in the lives, hearts and minds of students.

A unique and remarkable experience this past year resulted from inviting a man who played a major role in political life in communist East Germany to speak with our Jan Term students in Berlin. We pressed him to explain how, in the name of creating a "workers' paradise," communist East Germany resulted in a repressive political system that violated human rights. Surprisingly, we heard no defenses or excuses, but rather an admission that the system had failed . . . miserably. His closing confession, "I'll have to bear the guilt of my deeds until my dying day." Since returning to the States I have been corresponding with this former influential communist party official, attempting to broach subjects like the cross of Christ, forgiveness and transformation. We all know we live in "a post-Christian era," and this man is a bona fide member of it: no concept of God, eternal life, grace or forgiveness. What a challenge to attempt to present the gospel to an individual who until now has never met a Christian in his life. Yet another day at Whitworth. 

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