Justification in a Post-Christian Society

By Carl-Henric Grenholm and Göran Gunner (editors)

Essays navigating the social, ethical and theological challenges faced by the Lutheran tradition in today’s culturally diverse, post-Christian milieu.

ISBN: 9780227175231


Since the Reformation in the sixteenth century, Lutheran traditions have impacted culture and politics in many societies. At the same time Lutheran belief has had an effect on personal faith, morality, and ethics. Modern society, however, is quite different from that at the time of the Reformation.

How should we evaluate Lutheran tradition in today’s Western multicultural and post-Christian society? Is it possible to develop a Lutheran theological position that can be regarded as reasonable in a society that evidences a considerable weakening of the role of Christianity? What are the challenges raised by cultural diversity for a Lutheran theology and ethics? Is it possible to develop a Lutheran identity in a multicultural society, and is there any fruitful Lutheran contribution to the coexistence of different religious and non-religious traditions in the future?

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Carl-Henric Grenholm is Senior Professor of Ethics at the Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden. His main research areas are ethical theory, Christian social ethics, work ethics, ethics and economics, and theological ethics. He is the leader of a research project on Lutheran Theology and Ethics in a Post-Christian Society. Among his publications are Protestant Work Ethics (1993), Teologisk etik (Theological Ethics, 1997), Bortom Humanismen (Beyond Humanism, 2003), Sustainable Development and Global Ethics (2007), and Etisk teori: Kritik av moralen (Ethical Theory, 2014).

Göran Gunner is Associate Professor in Mission Studies, Uppsala University, and Researcher at Church of Sweden Research Unit, Uppsala. Dr. Gunner is also Senior Lecturer at Stockholm School of Theology, Stockholm, Sweden. His research areas include religious minority situations in the Middle East and issues related to human rights. He is also the editor of Church of Sweden Research Series. Among his publications are An Unlikely Dilemma: Constructing a Partnership between Human Rights and Peace-Building (co-authored with Kjell-Åke Nordquist, 2011) and Genocide of Armenians: Through Swedish Eyes (2013).



1. Introduction: Remembering the Past – Living the Future
     Carl-Henric Grenholm and Göran Gunner

Part One: Justification, Atonement, and Reconciliation
2. Promise and Trust: Lutheran Identity in a Multicultural Society
     Christoph Schwöbel
3. The Experience of Justification
     Christine Helmer
4. Atonement in Theology and a Post-Einsteinian Notion of Time
     Antje Jackelén
5. Healing as an Image for the Atonement: A Lutheran Consideration
     Cheryl M. Peterson

Part Two: Lutheran Theology and Ethics in a Post-Christian Society
6. Law and Gospel in Lutheran Ethics
     Carl-Henric Grenholm
7. Outside Paradise: Renegotiating Original Sin in Contemporary Lutheran Theology
     Eva-Lotta Grantén
8. Lutheran Spiritual Theology in a Post-Christian Society
     Karin Johannesson
9. Lutheran Theology and Dialogical Engagement in Post-Christian Society
     James M. Childs, Jr
10. Physicality as a New Model for Lutheran Ethics in a Multicultural Global Community
     Richard J. Perry, Jr

Part Three: Reformation as a Model for Interpretation of the Present
11. Incarnate vs. Discarnate Protestantism: Martin Luther and the Disembodiment of Faith
     Niels Henrik Gregersen
12. Contra Philosophos: The Lutheran Reformation as Critique of the Rationality of Modernity
     Knut Alfsvåg
13. Priesthood of all Believers as Public Opinion: An Unexplored Link between the Lutheran
     Reformation and the Enlightenment?
     Urban Claesson
14. Luther’s Interpretation of the Magnificat and Latin American Liberation Theology
     Elina Vuola
15. “Satis est” (CA 7): The Confessional Unity of the Church and the Augsburg Confession Today
     Henning Theiße


Endorsements and Reviews

These contributions testify to a Lutheranism not captured in the past, but actively engaging with contemporary issues in society and culture – a Lutheranism open, self-critical, constructive, and creative. This is a must-read for anybody who wants to see how the Lutheran tradition related to the wider theological dialogue, and what it has to contribute to the ecumenical reflection about the relevance of Christian faith for people of today.
Jan-Olav Henriksen, Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo

This book shows how the Lutheran doctrine of justification, despite its historical location in the sixteenth century – when examined with a self-critical ambition, as this book certainly does – has the capacity of challenging common values and ways of thinking, not least in societies marked by a post-Christian mentality.
Bo Kristian Holm, Aarhus University, Denmark

I heartily recommend this book as a solid primer for those unfamiliar with the current state and trajectory of Lutheran theology – especially those whose context is more Evangelical or Reformed … this work has enlightened me.
Charles Kim, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28, No 1