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Journal’s focus on Mark coincides with annual Bible emphasis

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–The often “neglected” Gospel of Mark is the focus of the Midwestern Journal of Theology’s fall edition, according to editor Terry Wilder. With the special emphasis, the journal can be used as a companion study aid to the Southern Baptist Convention’s January Bible Study of Mark.

“The study of Mark’s gospel has largely been neglected in comparison with the other Gospels,” Wilder writes in an introductory editorial. “This relative neglect is unfortunate because Mark’s gospel challenges its readers with an especially powerful message” underscoring the price of following Jesus Christ.

“Mark emphasizes –- more so than the other Gospels -– the cost of discipleship,” writes Wilder, associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

The journal includes an extensive review of more than 15 commentaries and more than 30 monographs on Mark in an article titled, “The Gospel of Mark in Current Study,” by guest contributor Craig Evans, the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, in Nova Scotia.

The fall issue also contains three inspirational sermons based on texts from Mark’s gospel.

Midwestern President R. Philip Roberts contributes “Is That Your Final Answer?” a sermon from Mark 10:17-22 on the rich young ruler’s encounter with Jesus.

“When I come to any gospel, including Mark, I find myself thrilled afresh to encounter Jesus through His inerrant and trustworthy Word,” Roberts writes.

The rich young ruler started out with three correct choices, Roberts notes, but his final answer was wrong – he walked away from Jesus.

In “Three Requirements for Following Jesus,” Walter Norvell, MBTS assistant professor of Christian education, soberly exhorts readers to take up their crosses, based on Mark 8:34.

Michael McMullen, Midwestern associate professor of church history, supplies “Edwards was Extraordinary,” an article which includes a previously unpublished sermon from Mark 2:17 preached by Jonathan Edwards.

Wilder finishes the emphasis on Mark with a discussion on the central message of the book, in an article titled, “The Heart of Mark’s Gospel.”

The journal also includes an article on a different technique of Scripture memorization –- the practice of retaining whole books of the Bible, rather than just certain passages or verses -– by Radu Gheorghita of Romania, MBTS’ current scholar in residence.

“While memorization is not a new spiritual discipline, I have not yet encountered an approach to theological education based on the memorization of entire books of the Bible,” Gheorghita writes.

In making his point for whole book memorization, Gheorghita cites the Muslim faith’s devotion to memorizing the whole Koran, classicists who know entire Greek texts, musicians and actors who memorize entire Bach scores and Shakespearean plays. Then he asks: “Should the Christian scholar value the Word of God less?”

For those who know the original languages, Gheorghita takes the whole book memorization method to another level, suggesting the reader also memorize the books in the original languages.

The Midwestern Journal of Theology is a publication of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. A subscription or copies of the journal can be obtained by contacting MBTS at (816) 414-3700.

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  • Cory Miller