Skip navigation

Wade R. Johnston

Wade Johnston image

Assistant Professor of Theology

Email

414.443.8865

  • Education

    B.A., Martin Luther College
    M.Div., Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary
    M.A., Central Michigan University
    M.A., Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
    Ph.D., Joint, Central Michigan University and Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam


    Background

    I was born and raised in Metro Detroit and am forever a proud son of the Mitten. My parents worked hard to provide my brother and me not only with a roof over our head, but also a solid education. Raised Roman Catholic, I was confirmed in the Evangelical Lutheran Church December 31, 1995. Soon afterward I enrolled in Martin Luther College, where I met my lovely wife, Tricia. Tricia served as a Lutheran elementary school teacher in Milwaukee before our first child was born. Now, after going back to school, she is an accountant. Upon graduation from seminary I was assigned to Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saginaw, Michigan, where I was privileged to serve as a parish pastor for ten years. Tricia and I have five children: Magdalen, Nicholas, Isaiah, Augustana, and Sophia. Our children attend St. John Lutheran School in Milwaukee and Wisconsin Lutheran High School. We live in Milwaukee and belong to Nain Evangelical Lutheran Church in West Allis, where I serve as an elder. I also serve as a pulpit assistant at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mukwonago. I enjoy bicycling and am a member of the Wisconsin Bike Fed. I am an avid sports fan (Detroit sports especially) and enjoy both playing and coaching them. With five children in club and high school baseball or softball, we spend most of our summers at ball diamonds and love just about every minute of it, especially when the count is in our favor. When time and finances permit, Tricia and I love to travel.


    Courses Taught

    HIS 112 – European History 2, 1500-1850
    THE 110 – Introduction to Theology  
    THE 130 – New Testament  
    HON 201 – Renaissance and Reformation 
    PHI 201 – Ethics  
    THE 307 – Romans
    THE 308 – Pauline Epistles  
    THE 401 – Basic Teachings of the Bible 1  
    THE 441 – History of Christianity
    THE 442 – History of the Reformation
    THE 461 – Thought and Life of Martin Luther


    Research Interests

    My dissertation is a comparative work examining the writings of Matthias Flacius Illyricus in the Adiaphoristic Controversy in Germany and John Hooper in the Vestment Controversy in England. I am also very interested in the Lutheran Confessions (their historical context and their content, to which confessional Lutherans subscribe). I have presented and will be presenting at a variety of conferences on the continued vitality and relevance of the Book of Concord in the twenty-first century. My minor fields are the Ancient Mediterranean and Modern Europe, and I read regularly and with great interest in both fields. I am especially interested in challenges to Christianity and the response of Christian churches in each of these periods of church history, as well as the Reformation and post-Reformation understanding and utilization of early periods of church history. My general academic interests include:

    • Martin Luther
    • Gnesio-Lutheranism
    • Confessionalization
    • Adiaphoristic Controversy
    • Lutheran Ethics
    • Gospel of Mark and Pauline Epistles
    • Reformations in Europe
    • Post-Reformation Lutheranism
    • Formula of Concord
    • Hermann Sasse and Lutheranism under Nazism
    • Holocaust Studies
    • Late Antiquity
    • Monasticism and Asceticism  


    Professional Experience

    Assistant Professor of Theology, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI; June 2014-present

    Department Head, Theology Department, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI; January 2016-July 2018

    Chair, Co-Curricular Committee, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI; June 2015-June 2017

    Faculty Chair, Wisconsin Lutheran College Milwaukee, WI; June 2017-present

    Pulpit Assistant, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mukwonago, WI; July 2014-August 2016

    Executive Committee, Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology; July 2016-present

    Editorial Associate, Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology; July 2013-2016

    Pastor, Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saginaw, MI; July 2004-June 2014

    Teaching Assistant, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI; August 2013-May 2014


    Languages

    Reading ability in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, German, Dutch, and Spanish


    Publications, Author 

    Clothed and in Our Right Mind: Live in a World Given back to Us
    New Reformation Publications, Anticipated 2019

    “Adiaphora and Confession: Flacius’ Magdeburg Writings Produced in Exile” in Matthias Flacius Illyricus – Biographische Kontexte, theologische Wirkungen, historische Rezeption
    Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Matthias Flacius Illyricus, Labin, 22-24 April 2015, Labin (Kroatien), Anticipated 2019

    “A Reformation in Preaching: Preaching as a Means of Grace”
    Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology
    XXVII, no. 2 (Eastertide 2018)

    The Devil behind the Surplice: Matthias Flacius and John Hooper on Adiaphora
    Pickwick Publications, 2018

    A Path Strewn with Sinners: Jesus’ Race to the Cross
    New Reformation Publications, 2017

    Entries on Nicholas von Amsdorf, the Saxon Visitations, and the Book of Concord in Encyclopedia of Martin Luther and the Reformation 
    Rowman & Littlefield, 2017

    An Uncompromising Gospel: Lutheranism’s First Identity Crisis and Lessons for Today
    New Reformation Publications, 2016

    “Matthias Flacius and the Persistence of Genuine Lutheranism” in Reformation 500: The Enduring Relevance of the Lutheran Reformation
    Northwestern Publishing House, 2016

    “Preface: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” 
    Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology
    XXV, no. 3 (Holy Trinity 2016)

    “We Must Obey God Rather than Men: The Lutheran Legacy of Resistance”
    Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology
    XXV, no. 3 (Holy Trinity 2016)

    “Preface: Martyrdom and Suffering”
    Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology
    XXIV, no. 2 (Eastertide 2015)

    “American Ideals in German Print: The Opposition of the Evangelical Synodical Conference to the 1889 Bennett Law in Wisconsin” 
    Journal of the Lutheran Historical Conference
    (2014)

    Pentecost Devotions, John 16:5-11
    Meditations
    57 (2014), 6/8/2014-6/14-2014

    “Spare the Rod, Hate the Child: Augustine and Luther on Discipline and Corporal Punishment”
    Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology
    XX, no. 4 (Reformation 2011)

    “Article X of the Formula of Concord and Lutheranism Today”
    Lutheran Synod Quarterly
    50, no. 1 (March 2010)


    Publications, Translator

    Adiaphora and Tyranny, Matthias Flacius Illyricus
    Magdeburg Press, 2011

    How to Understand the Sacred Scriptures, Matthias Flacius Illyricus
    Magdeburg Press, 2011

    “Sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, Gal. 5:16-24,” Martin Luther
    Luther’s Works, vol. 58, Concordia Publishing House, 2010

    “Sermon for the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity, Phil. 1:3-11,” Martin Luther
    Luther’s Works, vol. 58, Concordia Publishing House, 2010

    “Sermon for the Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity, Phil. 3:17-21,” Martin Luther
    Luther’s Works, vol. 58, Concordia Publishing House, 2010

    “Household Sermon for the First Sunday after Easter,” Martin Luther
    Luther’s Works, vol. 69, Concordia Publishing House, 2009

    “Sermon for the First Sunday after Easter, April 23, 1536,” Martin Luther
    Luther’s Works, vol. 69, Concordia Publishing House, 2009

    “Funeral Sermon on Psalm 86:11,” Paul Gerhardt
    Lutheran Synod Quarterly
    48, no. 1 (March 2008)

    Sacred Meditations, Johann Gerhard
    Magdeburg Press, 2008


    Publications, Editorial Work

    Witness, Hermann Sasse, Translated by Bror Erickson
    Magdeburg Press, 2013

    Then Fell the Lord’s Fire, Bo Giertz, Translated by Bror Erickson
    Magdeburg Press, 2012


    Book Reviews

    Review of Matija Vlačić Ilirik [III]: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Matthias Flacius Illyricus,, Labin/Croatia, 2010

    Reformation and Renaissance Review 17.3 (2015)


    Conference Presentations

    “Apologetics in the Life of a Lutheran Christian”
    Michigan District Convention, WELS, Saginaw, MI, June 11, 2018

    “The Heidelberg Disputation” 
    Shoreland Pastors Conference, WELS, Kenosha, WI, April 24, 2018

    “Teaching the Reformations of the Sixteenth Century at a Contemporary Lutheran College”
    Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Milwaukee, WI, October 27, 2017

    “Luther’s Life and Message”
    Dallas-Fort Worth Circuit, WELS, Dallas, TX, October 30, 2017

    “The Ongoing Relevance of Luther’s Reformation”
    Kettle Moraine, Shoreland, Western Lakes, and Winnebago Joint Pastors Conference, WELS
    Elkhart Lake, WI, September 19-20, 2017

    “Forward with the Reformation’s Focus on Education”
    Wisconsin-Chippewa-River Valley Pastors Conference, WELS, Stevens Point, WI, May 1, 2017

    “Forward with Our Reformation Heritage”
    Western Lakes Pastors Conference, WELS, Lannon, WI, April 24, 2017

    “Luther and His Friends”
    Minnesota District Church Leaders Workshop, WELS, Belle Plaine, MN, March 4, 2017

    “The Lutheran Reformation of Education”
    Metro Milwaukee Lutheran Teachers Conference, WELS, Milwaukee, WI, March 2, 2017

    “Lutheranism’s First Identity Crisis”
    Ohio Conference of the Michigan District, WELS, Jenera, OH, January 2017

    “The Path to Concord”
    Metro/Urban Milwaukee Pastors Get-Away Conference, WELS, Green Lake, WI, January 2017

    “The Struggle to Preserve Luther’s Uncompromising Gospel”
    Alaska Conference of Pastors and Teachers, WELS, Ancorage, AK, October 2016

    “Equipping God’s People to Stand Firm on the Word of God in the 21st Century”
    Nebraska District Convention, WELS, Waco, NE, June 2016

    “The Church Confesses, Still”
    California-Nevada Pastors Conference, WELS, Belmont, CA, January 2016

    “Matthias Flacius Illyricus: The Magdeburg Exile”
    IV. Internationale Tagung zu Matthias Flacius Illyricus 2015, Labin, Croatia, September 2015

    “The Lutheran Confessions in the Lutheran Parish"
    Milwaukee Urban Conference, WELS, Milwaukee, WI, May 2015

    “Luther and the Earthy Christ”
    Gulf Coast Circuit of the South Central District, WELS, The Woodlands, TX, November 2014

    “American Ideals in German Print”
    Lutheran Historical Conference, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI, October 2014

    “‘Holy History’: Matthias Flacius’ Argument against the Interims from the Church’s Past”
    Lutheranism and the Classics, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN, October 2014

    “Human, All Too Human: Original Sin, Matthias Flacius, and the Nature of Man”
    Northern Conference of the Michigan District, WELS, North Branch, MI, September 2013

    “Original Sin, the ‘Culture of Controversy,’ and Lessons for Today”
    Pastors Institute, Nebraska District, WELS, Omaha, NE, July 2013

    “Spare the Rod, Hate the Child: Luther and Augustine on the Discipline of Children”
    Lutheranism and the Classics, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN, September 2012

    “The Adiaphoristic Controversery, Formula of Concord X, and Lutheranism Today”
    Pastors Institute, Nebraska District, WELS, Omaha, NE, July 2012

    “American Ideals in German Print: The Opposition of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference to the 1889 Bennett Law in Wisconsin”
    Borders, Boundaries, and Beyond, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI, April 2012

    “Moses the Lutheran: Matthias Flacius and the Old Testament”
    Matthias Flacius and the Lost Lutheran Hermeneutic, Northfield, MN, November 2011

    “The Christian and Political Parties: Martin Luther on the Christian as Citizen”
    Northern Conference of the Michigan District, WELS, Traverse City, MI, September 2008 


    Service for WLC

    Co-Curricular Committee Member, June 2015-June 2017

    Theology Department Head, January 2016-July 2018

    Faculty Senate Chair, June 2017-present

    Strategic Planning Committee Member, January 2018-present

    Faculty Expectations Task Force, January 2019-present

    Honors Steering Committee, August 2015-present

    Chapel Preacher, August 2014-present


    Works in Progress

    Translation of Magdeburg Confession (German and Latin)


    Other Media

    Let the Bird Fly! – Podcast and Website (letthebirdfly.com)

    Contributor at 1517. The Legacy Project – Blog Posts and Other Online Content (1517.org)


    Professional Memberships

    Sixteenth Century Society & Conference

    Society for Reformation Research

    Lutheran Historical Conference

    American Historical Association