The title of this book plays upon the central place a theology of the cross holds in Lutheran theologies, especially lucid in Luther's Heidelberg Disputation (1518). The 500th anniversary of this document coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations wherein the preamble points to a global aspiration of a common good shaped by freedom, justice and peace. This book is located at the intersection of these two themes, asserting that the cross has material content in being the means by which Christ in suffering solidarity with individuals, communities, and the cosmos advances freedom, justice, and peace. Employing a variety of methods, and exploring a broad range of geographic locales, the contributors illumine the misuse of Reformation themes and offer a corrective in service of a common good that is publicly accountable and theologically sound. The book thereby explores how contemporary Lutheran theology has utility both for analyzing injustice and for advancing justice in local as well as global contexts.
Allen G. Jorgenson is assistant dean and holds the William D. Huras Chair in Ecclesiology and Church History at Martin Luther University College at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.
Kristen E. Kvam is professor of theology at Saint Paul School of Theology in Greater Kansas City and Oklahoma City.
Introduction: The Crux of the Matter
Kristen E. Kvam
1.Already Freed, Christians Should Serve (Cake): Religious Freedom Claims & Christian Privilege
Caryn D. Riswold
2.A Lutheran View of Conscience: Bound and Free, Constrained and Embodied
Mary Elise Lowe
3.The Obligations We Bear With One Another: A Reply to Lowe and Riswold on Questions of Conscience, Domination, and Love
4.Retrieving Luther’s Critique of Idolatry for Our Fragmented World: Whiteness, Greed and the Environment
5.A Non-Universal Lutheran Theology: Contextual Theological Process in Namibia
Marit A. Trelstad
6.Variegated Lutheran Theology in the Context of 21st Century Idols
Mary Philip aka Joy
7.Retrieving Luther’s Theology of Freedom for a Contemporary Ethic of Heteronomy
8.Crux of the Matter: Theology of the Cross and the Modern Extractive Imaginary
Terra Schwerin Rowe
9.Crux in the Balance—In Response to Rowe and Overy-Brown
Allen G. Jorgenson
10.Luther, Politics, and the Production of Theological Knowledge
Human rights and the rule of law are essential for modern democracy and citizenship. While Lutheran churches today are committed to the promotion of these cornerstones of our society, the historical and intellectual resources of Reformation theology in these matters continue to be debated. The present volume offers the reader a deepened understanding of justice, freedom, and human rights as they appear in the context of Luther's theology of the cross.
A timely and fascinating engagement with the Lutheran tradition to mine resources to address contemporary issues such as human rights, freedom, global racism, and climate justice. The diverse authors display both intellectual rigor and commitment to the common good. This book is a must-read for people interested in the future of Lutheran studies and the intersection between theology and politics.