Amy E. Marga
Assoc Prof, Systematic Theology

"Systematic theology is not much else than figuring out how best to be a witness to a living God," Marga says. "God comes brand new to us every single day, and therefore we're constantly called to figure out what that relationship looks like and how we can talk to other people about it."

There is little point to theology unless we can use it in today's world, says Amy Marga.

"The heritage of our forefathers is fascinating, but it has very little meaning if we cannot take what they've said and make it come alive in our own contexts," Marga says. "Theology really does not have any power unless we can actually live it out in our lives."

It's an approach to systematic theology that students will recognize the moment they look over the syllabus to one of Marga's classes. The study of church doctrine or Christian ethics is often tied to 21st-century issues such as the environment, homosexuality and poverty.

"I take the task of preparing leaders for the 21st century quite seriously," says Marga, noting how Martin Luther and Karl Barth likewise looked honestly at people in the contexts of their times rather than focusing on the past. "My goal is for students to be realistic about the world they're living in and not put on some kind of blinders that may have been bestowed on them by their communities - to realize that the world really is as it is and that it's our job to be most honest about who we are, living in that world."

Marga grew up in northeast New Jersey in a Slovak Lutheran family and from a young age found excitement for both teaching and the ideas that shaped her Christian community. Holding an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, she joined the Luther Seminary faculty in 2006.

In her teaching, Marga seeks to help students discover rather than tell them what to think. She encourages seminarians to apply their own wisdom and opinions, conventional or otherwise, through group discussions and activities. Above all, she wants students to realize that all Christians have a stake in articulating what they believe - and doing so in ways that make sense to other people in today's world.

"Systematic theology is not much else than figuring out how best to be a witness to a living God," Marga says. "God comes brand new to us every single day, and therefore we're constantly called to figure out what that relationship looks like and how we can talk to other people about it."