Lutheran Identity and Political Theology

By Carl-Henric Grenholm and Göran Gunner (editors)

Essays on issues of identity faced by the Lutheran tradition and its need to develop a coherent political theology to meet the challenges of cultural pluralism.

ISBN: 9780227175248


Lutheran tradition has in various ways influenced attitudes toward work, the economy, the state, education, and health care. One reason that Lutheran theology has been differently interpreted is that it is always influenced by surrounding social and cultural contexts.

In a society in which the church has lost a great deal of its cultural impact and authority, and a plurality of religious convictions exists, the question of Lutheran identity has never been more urgent. However, this question is also raised in the Global South where Lutheran churches need to find their identity in a relationship with several other religions. Here this relationship is developed from a minority perspective.

Is it possible to develop a Lutheran political theology that gives adequate contributions to issues concerning social and economic justice? What is the role of women in church and society around the world? Is it possible to interpret Lutheran theology in such a way that it includes liberating perspectives? These are some of the questions and issues discussed in this book.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 254

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Trade Information JPOD

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: Lutheran Tradition in Transition
     Carl-Henric Grenholm and Göran Gunner

Part One: Lutheran Identity in a Global World
2. Planet Luther: Challenges and Promises for a Lutheran Global Identity
     Vítor Westhelle
3. Burning Issues
     Göran Gunner
4. Lutheran Perspectives on the Right to Health in a Global World
     Ville Päivänsalo
5. “There’s an App for That!”: A Post-Christian Lutheran Response
     Michael R. Trice

Part Two: Lutheran Tradition and Gender
6. For the Sake of the Future: Rekindling Lutheran Theology on Spirituality, Equality, and Inclusivity
     Kirsi Stjerna
7. Liberating Aspects in Lutheran Theology for a Post-Gender Politics
     Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen
8. Re-Embracing the Body of Jesus Christ: A Queer, Lutheran Theology of the Body of Christ
     Mary Elise Lowe
9. Idolatry-Critical Justification and the Foreclosed Gendered Life
     Mary J. Streufert

Part Three: Lutheran Theology and Politics
10. Luther, Wittgenstein, and Political Theology
     Tage Kurtén
11. The “Communitarian” Critique of Luther’s Ethics
     Leif Svensson
12. Reconfiguring Church-State Relations: Toward a Rwandan Political Theology
     Victor Thasiah
13. Transforming Domination Then and Now
     Karen L. Bloomquist
14. Eros, Ethics, and Politics: Nuptial Imagery in Luther Read as a Challenge to Traditional Power Structures
     Elisabeth Gerle


Endorsements and Reviews

Informed and calibrated by Lutheran Reformation insights, this collection of essays by North American and Scandinavian scholars shows that Lutheran theology can tackle important issues among denominations and in society. The reader is confronted here with a plethora of insights into the relevance of Lutheran theology on a global scale.
Hans Schwarz, Regensburg University, Germany

Overall, the collection demonstrates that Lutheran scholarship is alive and aware of the same challenges of the twenty-first century that other denominational bodies are beginning to address. Those who are looking for glimpses of how these questions are being addressed will find a diverse set of answers between the covers, unified in their optimism.
Claire Hein Blanton, in Modern Believing, Vol 57.2

This book covers various important theological issues, and contributes insights from the perspective of global Lutheran experiences and theology..
Yin-an Chen, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28, No 1