From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Human Dignity Takes Priority over Economic Advantage

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Mon, 03 Dec 2001 09:41:42 -0600

LWF General Secretary's Lecture on "Church-Democracy-The Public" in

VIENNA, Austria/GENEVA, 2 December 2001 (LWI/epd Austria) - Human
dignity takes priority over economic advantage. The churches have to
continuously emphasize that the economy "serves no other purposes
than that of the well-being of the whole human family." Such was the
call of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary, Rev.
Dr. Ishmael Noko at the occasion of his November 20 guest lecture at
Vienna University.

Now, as in the past, this globalization process has always had
"deeply ambiguous outcomes when judged according to standards of
justice and ethics," Noko said.

Noko said the LWF was experiencing ambiguous economic, political and
social globalization in more than 70 countries all over the world. To
address the problems, the LWF had presented a working paper entitled
"Engaging Economic Globalization as A Communion," which is currently
being discussed in the federation's member churches. The working
paper is intended to clarify how the Christian churches can react to
globalization through their faith, their values and their communion.

The pursuit of individual profit must come second to the well-being
of the community, Noko underlined. "Created in God's image, we exist
in relation to others."

The LWF member churches, Noko emphasized, were looking for
possibilities to overcome the global unjust relations through the
communion. The Christian churches themselves are deeply affected by,
and implicated in globalization. On the one hand, the unity of the
Church profits from globalization, on the other, the global market
causes fragmentation within the individual churches as some people
profit from the unequal distribution of wealth while others are
marginalized and impoverished. For Noko, "globalization, and
churches' relationship to it, is likely to be a central challenge to
the Church's witness in the 21st century."

Noko was among five distinguished speakers in an interdisciplinary
series of lectures on "Church-Democracy-The Public," which began
October 30 through November 27. The forum was organized by the
faculty of Protestant theology, University of Vienna in collaboration
with Vienna's Protestant Academy to commemorate the 20th year since
the death of Rev. Wilhelm Dantine, one of the leading theologians and
teachers of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in

For the full text of Dr. Noko's presentation in Vienna, please

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 133
member churches in 73 countries representing over 60.5 million of the
64.3 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its
member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical
relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights,
communication, and the various aspects of mission and development
work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.)

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted, material
presented does not represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of
its various units. Where the dateline of an article contains the
notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced with

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