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New Protestantism Section
Adult Forum Presentation at Augustana Lutheran Church, Portland, Oregon:
The New Protestantism: Messiah Church
9:50 - 10:50 AM - Fireside Room - Ed Knudson, ELCA Pastor
There has been so much change of the public meanings of Protestant churches over the past fifty years that it is possible now to speak of "the new Protestantism." In three upcoming sessions Ed Knudson will speak about the core beliefs of Martin Luther and the Reformation, the influence of Protestants in philosophy leading to the development of modern nations, including the United States. Now after 500 years Protestants are able to accept responsibility to critique economic and societal institutions based on historic Reformation faith.
October 27, 2013 - "The Great Turn of Reformation Faith from Heaven to Earth"
Looking back now to the 16th century from our perspective today we can see the huge influence of Martin Luther in Germany and John Calvin in Geneva in shifting the focus of Christian faith and practice from an exclusive focus on heaven to this world which God has made. Using core Reformation beliefs we will in this session provide an interpretation of changes experienced by Protestants especially in more recent history since the 1960s. Key differences in understanding how God is active in history will be noted, with big consequences for determining the mission of the church in the world today.
November 3 - "Lutheran Political Ethics in the New Protestantism"
Many people are unaware that there is a strong and clear Lutheran tradition for making ethical choices and political judgments. In this session that tradition will be explored in contrast to that of the Calvinist churches, especially those associated with the English Reformation including Puritans and Baptists. A false form of Protestantism has become dominant in the United States called the "religious right" which is an Americanized, commercialized, politicized religion which has terribly skewed the political process in this country. Understanding these matters will help make clear the challenges of Reformation Protestants in the 21st century.
November 10 - "Political Agency for Messiah Church in the World"
Jesus is understood messiah, one who brings salvation to the world. Martin Luther was a reformer who led a movement against the Roman Catholic Church, the most powerful institution of the Middle Ages which had become an oppressive force terrifying the consciences of common folks. What does it mean to be a messiah church today, following Jesus Christ? The most powerful institution of today is the modern business corporation which wields immense power over the minds, hearts and lives of the people as well as both the political and governing process. Two major issues will be addressed in this session, economic inequality and climate change threatening the very future of life on this planet. The New Protestants in several denominations have made these issues central to how they understand their calling and mission in the world today.
November 17 - "Toward a New Polemical Protestantism"
A fourth session was added in which we discuss the challenge to speak the faith in a polemical manner today, making clear not only what we believe but what and who to which we are opposed, such as revivalist conservatism. There is a tendency to try to escape into spiritualities of balance and harmony rather than accept our responsibility to interpret our own times and engage in the conflicts of history, conflicts which today threaten the very future of the earth.
All are welcome.
Martin Luther: “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything” (LW 51:77).
Bayer, Oswald. Theology the Lutheran Way. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.
Dochuk, Darren. From Bible Belt to Sun Belt: Plain Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism. New York: W.W Norton, 2011.
Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia D. Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013.
Paulson, Steven D. Lutheran Theology. London: T&T Clark, 2011.
Rasmussen, Larry L. Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Žižek, Slavoj. Demanding the Impossible. Cambridge: Polity Press,2013.
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