In this book, established scholars from different religions, regions, and disciplines continue the dialogue that Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen began in his A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World series and respond to his work in light of their diverse expertise and context. Each of the three parts focuses on a key area of Kärkkäinen’s engaging work: 1) highlighting how his method shaped each volume, 2) highlighting his commitment to global perspectives, and 3) highlighting his interreligious and interdisciplinary dialogue partners. Together, these essays seek to deepen and extend the impact of Kärkkäinen’s work, taking it seriously as a substantive model for contemporary systematic theology in listening and engaging with this world.
Peter Heltzel is a visiting researcher at Boston University School of Theology.
Patrick Oden is director of Academic Integration, Fuller Equip, and research assistant professor of theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Amos Yong is professor of theology and mission and dean of the School of Mission and Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Peter C. Phan
Patrick Oden and Peter Goodwin Heltzel
Part One. Exploring Kärkkäinen’s Project: Response to Method
1.Kärkkäinen’s Christ and Reconciliation: An Appreciative Response
John C. Peckham
2.Affirmation and Critique: An Evangelical Appraisal of Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen’s Trinity and Revelation
Sung Wook Chung
3. Constructive Theology with an Eye to Creation and Humanity: Engaging Kärkkäinen’s Third Volume of A Constructive Theology for the Pluralistic World
4.The Many Tongues of the Spirit? Interpreting Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen’s A Constructive Christian Theology for [a] Pluralistic World
5.Where in the World is the Kingdom? An Antiracist Critique of Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen’s Hope and Community
Peter Goodwin Heltzel and Christian T. Collins Winn
Part Two. Global Responses
6.Engaging the Constructive Theology of Veli-Matti Kӓrkkӓinen: On Christ, the Spirit, and “spirits” in African Reformed Perspective
Esther E. Acolatse
7.Liberationist Theology in Latin American/Caribbean History
8.Is the Church a Missional or a Sacramental Community? Exploring the Ecclesiological and Ecumenical Message of Kärkkäinen’s Magnum Opus from a European Roman Catholic Perspective
Peter De Mey
9.The Global Theology of Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen: A Free Church View from Down Under
10.Jesus the Eagle in North American Indigenous Theology
Randy S. Woodley
11.The Commensurability between Kärkkäinen and Chinese Confucianism on the Topic of Natural Theology
Part Three. Interreligious and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
12.A Theology for the Anthropocene
13.The Shortcomings of Law: Reflections on the Role of Biblical Law in Kärkkäinen and the Law in Contemporary Society
John C. Fleming
14.Zen Eye on Triune Mystery: Buddhist Light on Christian Life and Faith
Ruben L. F. Habito
15.Christian Diversity, Religious Plurality, and Kärkkäinen’s Constructive Theology
Todd M. Johnson
16.Hospitality, Mutual Immanence and Creativity: A Process Engagement with Kärkkäinen’s Hospitality and Religious Dialogue
Rafael Reyes III
17.Everything is Everything: Reevaluating Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen’s ‘Theology of Everything’ and Social Location
Jason S. Sexton
18.The Role of Social Justice in a Theology of Reconciliation: Bringing Together King and Kärkkäinen
Patrick T. Smith
Response: The (Im)Possibility of Doing Constructive Theology for the Ruptured World
Kärkkäinen’s five-volume magnum opus is probably the first major evangelical constructive theology this century which takes into account the religious, cultural, and ideological pluralities that the age of globalization has thrust upon us. This collection of wide-ranging essays is the first concerted attempt at critical engagement and it certainly will not be the last. For those unfamiliar with Kärkkäinen’s work, it also serves as an excellent point of entry.
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen is an unusual theologian. Both prolific in his output and yet always open to new insights; committed to the broad contours of historic Christianity, and yet desirous of dialogue with thinkers whose views diverge from his own; rooted in European thought, and yet committed to theology as it is expressed in the New World; and evangelical in his Lutheranism, and yet also attuned to the emerging theologies of global Pentecostalism. His five-volume systematic theology is a significant restatement of Christian doctrine that reflects the concatenation of these influences. The authors in this symposium have done a magnificent job of engaging some of the major themes of his project. It is a fitting tribute to the work of an important and influential ecumenical systematic theologian. I warmly commend it.
This group of diverse scholars do much more than offer critical, dialogical, and rigorous engagement with Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen’s 5-volume project; they further the conversation in significant ways about what it means to envision a Christian constructive theology for the religiously pluralistic and secular world of the third millennium. Anyone interested in what it means to do theology in a “post-everything age” will find this volume invaluable.