namely, Robert (Bob) Bertram. We've given Bob the time off from his editorial duties in this newsletter in order to pay a special tribute to his fifty years in the ministry of teaching. We shall more properly honor Bob (d.v.) in a Service of Praise and Thanksgiving on June 21, to which you are all invited (see last page). We all have benefited from Bob as our teacher, mentor, and friend. And through our encounter with him, we have also benefited from his confessing of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.
Bob always said that he has enjoyed teaching so much that he never found time to publish. Truth is, he's actually published quite a bit. I already count six hefty ring-binder volumes of Bob's articles and papers on my shelves.
Some of his writing is for the more theologically disciplined; some of it is the kind of writing that laity can easily sink their teeth into (and what a foretaste!). But all of it is unquestionably "good news" for his readers--too good not to be shared. So in the pages that follow, we have provided selections from Bertram's works. If some of this gets a little heavy, we hope that you nonetheless read it in the spirit of Bob's good confession of the Gospel. We hope that all will enjoy his unedited sermon at the end of this newsletter.
Bob does, of course, have one book published, for which he is the editor, Theology in the Life of the Church (Fortress, 1963). The contributors to that tome include such notables as Jaroslav Pelikan, Martin Marty, and (the late) Richard ("Doc") Caemmerer. There, in Bertram's own preface to that book, is the provocative poem which reads,
What is life for theology
Robert W. Bertram, Teacher
This poem may serve as a motto of Bob's enduring, endearing contributions.
"The Church for life is the Church for theology." Standing up and being counted for the Gospel of Christ is near and dear to Bob's sense of what it means to be a confessor. Consider the following sample from his unpublished article, "Augsburg: A Modern 'Time for Confessing.'" Bob hopes to have a whole new book out someday on such "times of confessing." Many of the chapters are all ready to go. His life's work, however, continues to tell the story of a confessor.
michael c hoySome of the most constructive moments in recent history have been those times ironically when Christians have had to disobey secular authority, including the church's own, in order to testify that for the one church of Jesus Christ his one Gospel-and-Sacraments is authority enough.
The term "confession" in the context of Augsburg, as in dominant biblical contexts, connotes not just any declaration of one's faith--the sort of declaration, for instance, made by a candidate for baptism or in response to some friendly inquiry about "the reason of the hope that is in you." No, "a time for confessing" is more embattled than that. It is an adversary situation. In such a context confessing implies that the confessors are on trial for their faith
Michael Hoy, President (513-228-5006) + Cathy Lessmann, Executive Secretary (314-576-0567)