Timothy Leitzke – Perichoretic Preaching, or: Dancing for Your Neighbor

In: Int Journal of Homiletics, volume 3 (2018) 19 Oct 2018

[full-text PDF; metadata on Qucosa]

How can we preach on current political and social issues without simply adding Christ’s name to a political philosophy? More precisely, how can those who claim the heritage of Luther and the early Reformation do this? Luther withdrew from advocacy for the poor around 1525, and central parts of his theology (and the tradition that bears his name) emerged only after this withdrawal. This article argues that Luther’s theology of preaching, which conceived of proclamation as part of the Trinitarian economy, provides a doctrinally sound method for preaching on matters of social justice. After establishing the early Luther’s record on advocacy founded in the commandment to love neighbor and assessing reasons for Luther’s about face on poor relief in 1525, the article examines Luther’s understanding of preaching as “perichoretic,” part of the movement of the Trinity. As such, preaching joins in God’s mission to move people to acts of love of neighbor, sometimes acts that constitute great personal or material risk.