AAR Luther Consultation

AAR A7 -329

Martin Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions Consultation

These papers are part of a working group of the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Montreal, Canada, 7-10 November, 2009. For More information

Theme: New Visions for the Lutheran Tradition
November 7, 2009 
Saturday  4:00 pm-6:30 pm
Place: TBA
Stjerna, Kirsi, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Presiding
Any questions or concerns or suggestions, feel free to
email kstjerna@ltsg.edu or call 1-800-MLUTHER or 1-717-3346286 ext 2155

Lutheranism Goes Global: Understanding Lutheran Theology in the Context of Africa

by Andrea M. Ng'weshemi, Thiel College

This paper investigates the understanding, interpretation and application of Lutheran theology in the context of Africa. Focusing on the doctrine of justification by faith, the basic assumption is that the task of making Lutheran theology relevant and plausible ought not be regarded as replication of missionary-cum-Western theology or achieving some shallow syncretism, but rather as a fusion of horizons in a hermeneutical sense. This involves acknowledgement of, and ability to engage deeply with the conditions in which Lutherans, like other people in Africa live—economic hardships fueled by colonial and neo-colonial legacies, the inequalities of world trade in recent global capitalism, religious pluralism, wars and the refugee crisis, and the AIDS pandemic. In the African context, therefore, Luther’s theology of justification by faith must be reformulated in an encounter with socio-economic and political injustice, on the one hand, and the pervasive spirituality of African cultural heritage on the other hand.

Making One Flesh: Walter Trobisch, the Lutheran World Federation, and Missionary Theologies of Sexuality in Africa

by Jennifer Snow, Chicago, IL

'Making One Flesh,' the theology of companionate monogamous marriage taught by Lutheran missionaries in Africa, arose in response to missionary concerns about polygamy in African cultures, and resulted in a unique structure of church discipline in African churches. I investigate Rev. Walter Trobisch, an exemplary Lutheran 'marriage missionary' in Africa in the mid-twentieth century, and his connections with the Lutheran World Federation as an entry point to understanding the historical and theological roots of the contemporary tensions in the global church over sexuality and marriage.

Special feature: Letters to Trobisch on Google Maps

The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification in the Global Context

by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Fuller Theological Seminary

This presentation argues that a 'revised' way of understanding the Lutheran doctrine of justification - in terms of its affinity with both the Eastern Orthodox notion of theosis and the Roman Catholic view of justification as the change of life - may help Lutherans address more adequately the challenges of global diversity such as justice and liberation as well as interfaith encounters with religious and spiritual traditions such as Buddhism. The presentation first takes stock of the promises and challenges of the New Interpretation of Luther's theology of justification in terms of Christ's presence in the believer through the Holy Spirit as suggested by the so-called Mannermaa School and its relation to Orthodox notion of theosis and Catholic view of justification. Then, two case studies will offered to relate justification to global and interfaith issues.

Confessional Lutheranism, Luther, and Politics in Brazil: Dynamics in Theology Politics in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (Twentieth Century)

by Arnaldo Érico Huff, Mackenzie Presbyterian University

This is a study about orthodox confessional Lutheran theology and politics in Brazil during the 20th century. It analyzes the theological conceptualizations regarding politics made by pastors and leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (ELCB), a former affiliate and now a sister church of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Analyzing two events, the end of World War I (1917-1919) and the ending of the military dictatorship in Brazil (1980-1985), I will attempt to show how these pastors and leaders built their theology politics reinterpreting Lutheran traditions and elaborating memories of Luther; and also how, in so doing, they have changed and moved their theological concepts of politics without giving up the ideal of confessionality.