From the Worldwide Faith News archives

LWI 2009-022 Lutheran Theology Alive and Well

From "LWFNews" <>
Date Mon, 30 Mar 2009 15:16:45 +0200

>LWI News online:

Lutheran Theology Alive and Well

Interreligious Dialogue Precondition for Theological Discourse

AUGSBURG/GENEVA, 30 March 2009 (LWI) – "Lutheran theology
today is alive and well," underlined Rev. Dr Guillermo Hansen on
26 March, addressing about 120 participants at the international
consultation "Theology in the Life of Lutheran Churches –
Perspectives and Ways of Transforming Churches Today" of the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Augsburg, Germany. 

Lutheran theology is alive because it comes from such diverse
environments, said the Argentinian, who is currently teaching at
the Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. 

The diversity of Lutheran theology is the best indicator that
"Lutheran identity is not static, but always becoming," according
to Hansen. In his view, "the web of belief is enriched" when we
have to deal with ancestor devotion, speaking in tongues, healing
practices or HIV and AIDS. "Participation in this Lutheran web
makes all of us not only custodians, but receptors," Hansen

"The indigenization of the church in Africa should deal with
issues such as ritual, religion, myth, liturgy, prayer and
worship whilst inculturation of the Gospel should deal with
issues such as culture, morality, ethos, taboos, theology and
praxis," stated Dr Ramathate Dolamo from South Africa, in one of
the main lectures. The concepts of indigenization and
inculturation are still widely regarded as synonyms, he claimed.
Yet "a fine distinction" could be drawn between the two concepts
"without necessarily tearing them apart."

Interreligious dialogue is the necessary prerequisite for doing
theology in religiously pluralist contexts, emphasized Dr J. Paul
Rajashekar, currently teaching at Lutheran Theological Seminary
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. "The focus of dialogue, among
other things, is to engage in mutual theological discoveries that
strengthen our faith in relation to other faiths in diverse
contexts," added the theologian, a native of India.

Interacting with other religions is not about being right,
stressed Dr Eva Harasta, an Austrian lecturer in systematic
theology at Bamberg University in Germany. In her view, "it is
about trusting Christ’s actions and about being his witnesses,
about getting to know him. Backed by the strength of the
resurrection, this endeavor is not dispirited – it is an
endeavor filled with hope and trust."

Over 120 theologians from more than 30 countries are taking part
in the consultation "Theology in the Life of Lutheran Churches:
Transformative Perspectives and Practices Today" in Augsburg,
Germany, under the auspices of the LWF Department for Theology
and Studies (DTS). The 25 to 31 March meeting, held in
collaboration with the Institute of Protestant Theology of the
University of Augsburg, is the culmination of the DTS study
program "Theology in the Life of the Church," which has been
ongoing since 2004.

The main lectures are available in English as PDF files on the
LWF website:

>*        *          *

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF
currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the
world, with a total membership of over 68.5 million. The LWF acts
on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such
as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian
assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects
of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in
Geneva, Switzerland.)

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