Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Is there a role for churches in advocating for a new economic world order?

A Lutheran Seminary keynoter and author proposed that the Church once more plays the kind of influential,international diplomatic role in human rights that its leaders were known for decades ago
Tuesday, December 2, 2008 11:30 am, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Brossman Learning Center
scroll down for lecture notes and more

The 2008 Nolde Lecture

During the 1940s, '50s and '60s influential church leaders profoundly shaped the international diplomacy and human rights issues of the day.

Could it happen again? British author Canon John S. Nurser, whose career has chronicled human rights history internationally, thinks it's possible despite current challenges. Canon Nurser addressed an audience celebrating the life of the late Professor O. Frederick Nolde, who during the above period hob-nobbed with the likes of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Eleanor Roosevelt and President John F. Kennedy while taking part in diplomatic talks surrounding Vietnam and the Suez Crisis. Nolde spent two years with others drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. Nolde penned sections on Freedom of Religion in the Declaration, which becomes 60 years old next week. In those days he often introduced himself to world leaders as a professor of Christian education at a Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. The professor, who taught at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) for 40 years prior to his death in 1972, is featured in a chapter of a book authored by Nurser entitled For All Peoples and All Nations (Georgetown University Press, 2005). Nolde directed the seminary's Graduate School during many of those years and lived in Wyndmoor, Pa, near the LTSP campus.

"What the ecumenical Christians of the 1940s called 'Christendom-thinking' accepted that in a global era that there no longer ought to be faith-based states, but that world Christianity is called to ask for a specific set of rights in secular states, provided those rights are equally available to all citizens, whatever their faiths," Nurser said in remarks he titled, "Human Rights Needs the Churches: The Gospel Needs Human Rights." "Whether that can hold today remains a vital question. Its fundamental assumption is the divine and human imperative of hospitality, of being 'serious' that our neighbors, within reasonable limits, should be at ease in their life situation. A Christian who follows St. Paul is above all concerned that a neighbor's conscience should be so at ease. This is in my opinion a happy companion to the Golden Rule offered by Jesus and indeed by many others." Nurser's remarks were part of this year's observance connected with the O. Frederick Nolde Ecumenical Lectureship and Seminar at the seminary.

Nolde, among other things, founded the World Council of Churches' Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and convened a May, 1945 meeting in San Francisco that decided on a commitment to human rights in the Charter of the United Nations.

But what of today? Could churches play a role in helping to establish a new and responsible economic world order with the United Nations and issues of human rights as part of the focus for a just world?

"In our own time I suggest churches may be sensing a vocation to become 'serious' about the present economic and financial arrangements of the world," Nurser said. "These two, as was the case of matters in the 1950s, need to answer gospel questions and be changed. In the area of greed and economic privilege - so much closer to our daily life - we have become vulnerable. In my judgment, moving to a global economic order worthy of the task will be a long and painful struggle. Without the stamina that comes from religious conviction it will fail."

Nurser said there is no way that global and economic financial life can be governed "without first agreeing on what institutions have to be set up to begin to undertake such regulation, and then establishing them. And how is such authority to be made to relate to political authorities? The United Nations' human rights bodies have been emasculated from inside by precisely the states that have the most to answer for at that bar. Perhaps the United Nations itself will have to be reformed first. After all, for the first 10 years of its life the UN's Economic and Social Council (to which the Human Rights Commission was responsible) was at the same level as the Security Council."

Nurser called for the kind of spirit that can be found in an examination of Nolde's life work, recognizing that "many voices in the public square, including Christian churches, are calling for a better way to be found to manage global economic and financial life." He suggested that could lead to churches working together to set up an informed conversation about global markets - one that could lead entrusting an agreed-upon agenda to an appropriate officer and staff empowered to act on their behalf.

Following Nolde's approach of decades ago, such an office would cultivate familiarity with the range of economic expertise, both practical and academic, he said. Those involved would get to know the relevant players in international conferences personally, as Nolde did, he said.

"Many Non Governmental Offices (NGOs) now do this, and follow where the CCIA led," he said. "Perhaps the churches no longer have bodies that are sufficiently heavyweight and representative and trans-national in such a field," he said. "Perhaps - above all - the churches have still to work at the mobilization of public opinion of which they are capable" in order for the original vision to be rekindled with relevance for today.

Nurser concluded by reading a paragraph, a kind of "credo", framed by Nolde in 1954 for the occasion of the second assembly of the World Council of Churches in Evanston, IL, a credo that Nurser feels holds continuing relevance for today:

    "This troubled world, disfigured and distorted as it is, is God's world. He rules and overrules its tangled history. In praying 'thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven', we commit ourselves to seek earthly justice, freedom and peace for all men and women. Here as everywhere Christ is our hope - The Fruit of our effort rests in His hands. We can therefore live and work as those who know that God reigns, undaunted by all the arrogant pretensions of evil, ready to face situations that seem hopeless and yet to act in them as men and women whose hope is indestructible."

LTSP President Philip Krey, Nancy Nolde, Canon John Nurser"Canon Nurser with LTSP Student and Alum Respondents
LTSP President Philip Krey,
Nancy Nolde, Canon John Nurser
Canon Nurser and Nancy Nolde
with LTSP Student and Alum Respondents
Members of the Nolde family with Canon John Nurser and his wife
Members of the Nolde family with Canon John Nurser and his wife

click on a photo for a high quality version

Nolde Lecture 2008 notes in Adobe Acrobat format.

About Nolde lecturer Canon John S. Nurser

Canon John S. Nurser's career focus has been directed toward the secular political structures related to human rights that Christian faith communities helped to establish. He was a Commonwealth (Harkness) Fund Fellow at Harvard Divinity School (1956-57). At Peterhouse, Cambridge (1953-56), he developed a doctoral dissertation focusing on "The Idea of Conscience in the Work of Lord Acton." He served on the steering committee for "Liberty Under the Law," a U.S. Constitution bicentennial exhibition featuring the Lincoln Magna Carta (1985-87). He is an Anglican priest.

Nurser's book For All Peoples and All Nations (Georgetown University Press, 2005) contains a chapter on Nolde's seminal diplomatic work in a time when church leaders played an especially prominent role on the world diplomatic stage. While Nolde taught Christian Education and directed the Graduate School at LTSP over 40 years, he also acted diplomatically in dozens of international situations, including serving as a mediator in the Korean War at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (1953). He served as a mediator in negotiations leading to the cessation of hostilities between Greece and Cyprus (1955). In 1968, he played a key role by calling on President Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh to express the churches' concerns for a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam conflict. Nolde was the founding director of the World Council of Churches' Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, which in 1966 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Comments from lecturer Canon John S. Nurser about O. Frederick Nolde

"One of the most extraordinary personal achievements of American history was rooted at LTSP," Nurser contends. "Professor O. Frederick Nolde, who taught Christian Education there during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, played a crucial role in mobilizing American Protestants to demand a post-World War II 'global order,' and one based on human rights. On behalf of the World Council of Churches, he was instrumental in rallying national delegations at the United Nations to ratify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. He drafted the Declaration's Article 18 on freedom of religion. Our present economic crisis is evidence that we in the Christian churches have the responsibility now, 60 years later, to mobilize support for a responsible economic global order." Nolde was a Wyndmoor, PA, resident during his seminary teaching career. He died in 1972.

"Fred Nolde was by formation a teacher," Nurser notes. "The churches of the world are called to think far more carefully than we do now about the relationship between Christian revelation, the practical world of human experience, and universal human rights. And the fruits of this thinking need to be taught effectively in congregations, in an ecumenical and interfaith context, and in the public square."

About the Nolde Lectureship and Seminar

The Nolde lectureship and seminar encourages students, clergy, and lay leaders to learn about human rights issues through regularly offered courses and events at LTSP, noting that human rights "is an imperative of the Christian Gospel with a particular concern for human rights issues related to the work of the United Nations." Among the goals of the program is to "raise consciousness in seminaries and congregations of the need for effective programs of religious education, both inside and outside of Christianity, on behalf of human rights, particularly the rights of freedom of conscience, information and religious liberty." The program sponsors a special seminar every other year, and a lectureship in the alternate year. Associates in the initiative include the Lutheran Office for World Affairs, the Office of Governmental Affairs of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the United Nations Office of the World Council of Churches, and the Office for International Affairs of the National Council of Churches of Christ of the USA. The program is funded through a generous gift by the Nolde family.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chris Satullo: "Brood of Vipers: The media, the Gospel and public life"

Convocation: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Brossman Learning Center

Chris Satullo, formerly a columnist and director of civic engagement at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and now Executive Director of News and Civic Dialogue at Philadelphia public broadcaster WHYY, explored the connections between the media, faith and the public in a lecture entitled "Brood of Vipers: The media, the Gospel and public life" at the Tuesday, November 18 convocation at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP).

Satullo previously was editorial page editor of The Inquirer, serving in that role for seven years. Before taking the position at WHYY, he was at the paper 19 years. He founded and directed the Inquirer's Citizen Voices program, an effort to engage readers in deeper political dialogue, and wrote a regular column called Center Square.

Chris Satullo: "Brood of Vipers:
The media, the Gospel and public life"

introduction by The Rev. Dr. Katie Day,
Charles A. Schieren Professor, Church and Society; Director, Metropolitan/Urban Concentration

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reading the Bible – Biblical Interpretation

The Fall Alumni Forum
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Brossman Learning Center

LTSP Faculty: The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History, and Dr. Erik Heen, Professor of New Testament and Greek, are the lecturers at this Alumni Fall Forum.

Professor Wengert spoke on the topic Reading the Bible with Martin Luther, touching on the unique characteristics of Reformation insights into reading the Bible, examining such issues as the authority of Scripture (strength in weakness), the canon of Scripture (what to do with James), and the effect of Scripture (law and gospel). Prof. Wengert has spent his career investigating the history of biblical interpretation, especially as an aspect of Reformation theology and practice.

Reading the Bible with Martin Luther
The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert

Professor Heen's topic, Reading the Bible with St. Paul, focuses on how Paul’s "Damascus Experience" fundamentally changed his understanding of Scripture, giving rise to what has been called the "Christocentric" reading of the Bible. Paul’s development in hermeneutics is to suggest the dangers of both "proof-texting" as well as readings of the OT that do not discern Christ as the center of the Word of God of both testaments. Dr. Heen's specific New Testament research interests include Paul and the history of biblical interpretation.

Reading the Bible with St. Paul
Dr. Erik Heen

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Quodlibet 2008 - Prof. Erik Heen

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Distinguished Presenter: Dr. Erik Heen, Professor of New Testament and Greek

From the Great Plains to the Cross: Professor Erik Heen's Quodlibetal message

Through Scripture, God reveals God's self to us to us through Christ crucified on the cross for our sins. That reality alone makes it a good thing to read the Bible.

And in keeping in mind the theology of the cross a great challenge for disoriented believers I to constantly keep their guard up against that "trickster" the devil, lest we allow the devil to substitute for God "something less than God."

These points and many others were delivered Tuesday, Nov. 4, by Dr. Erik Heen, professor of New Testament and Greek at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He was the annual "Quodlibet" respondent, dealing with "any question whatever" that had been posed to him the week before by the seminary community.

  • Heen traced the Great Plains roots of his upbringing with affection, noting that "real people stand behind" the pietistic perspectives found in the Midwest. Heen added that there is a limit to how much one can generalize from the specificity of one's influential social location experienced during formative years. He cautioned against unduly disparaging Pietism and the tendencies to generalize narrowly, noting that "real people stand behind" Pietistic perspectives.. A theological principle of Pietism, he said, is "that righteousness is granted us by the grace of God through the death of Jesus." He said this understanding should never come at anyone else's expense.

  • Heen noted that the hard-working farmers he had grown up with seldom had much money, were hard-working and had little in the way of formal education, but they were diligent about their faith and the reading of Scripture. The rise of education today has had much to do with the way the Bible is read, and these changes are not always for the better.

  • Sin comes with a capital "S" and a small "s." The small "s" has to do with behaviors such as chemical dependency. The capital "S" form of sin has to do with our unbelief in God, which denies the voice of a believer's conscience, and thus separates us from God - a form of death. This reality needs to be a focus of one's theological concern and is frequently a reality believers do not comprehend because "we are so disoriented."

  • A knowledge of God "is possible only through a theology of revelation," Heen said. "For Paul the cross was the central revelation event. Christ crucified for Paul was the sole basis for theological knowledge, the way God speaks to the world. The cross reaches out in our disorientation to save the world."

  • Heen also spent considerable time discussing the Bible as "inspired" and the subject of Biblical inerrancy. He concluded his perspective by saying "yes" to the notion the Bible is an inspired book and "no" to the notion of Biblical inerrancy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Day of Remembrance and Celebration: Remembering Prof. William Lazareth

September 27, 2008

Prof. William LazarethSaturday, September 27, 2008, was a Day of Remembrance and Celebration at LTSP, when the seminary remembered and celebrated the life and ministry of The Rev. Dr. William H. Lazareth, BD '53, 1994 Distinguished Alum, who served at LTSP as the Hagan Professor of Systematic Theology and dean of the faculty for nearly twenty years, and later returned to campus as distinguished visiting professor. Prof. Lazareth, who died this past spring, was noted by ELCA Presiding Bishop The Rev. Mark Hanson as "a teacher of the church. The ecclesial, theological and ecumenical legacy that he leaves will bless the people of the church for generations to come." This legacy was clearly experienced by his
students and fellow faculty at the seminary.

An annual Lectureship in Theology and Ethics will be established to commemorate Dr. Lazareth. The Lectureship will be funded from gifts given by family, friends, students, colleagues, and those who have been touched by the Lazareth legacy.

Recordings from the Day

Time of Remembrance for The Rev. Dr. William H. Lazareth
Moderator: The Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, President, LTSP

Student Reflection
The Rev. John Sabatelli, MDiv '71

Role in Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry
The Rev. Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian, H. George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures; Director, Multicultural Mission Resource Center

Role in Ethics
The Rev. Dr. Katie Day, The Charles A. Scheiren Professor, Church and Society; Director, Metropolitan/Urban Concentration

Role in Theology
The Rev. Dr. Lowell G. Almen, Secretary of the ELCA 1987-2007

Memorial Statement - Remembering a Brooklyn Street Fighter
The Rev. Dr. Andrew J. White, The Peter, Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology

Donations to the Lazareth Lectureship on Theology and Ethics may be made online or sent to: The Rev. Ellen Anderson, LTSP, 7301 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19119.

Monday, September 1, 2008

LTSP Faculty talk about public theology

Professors Erik Heen and Robert Robinson discuss Being Public with the Bible and Theology

Professors Erik Heen and Robert Robinson expand on the discussion found on pages 6 and 7 of the 2008 Academic issue of the seminary's PS magazine.

Erik Heen

Robert Robinson

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The LTSP 144th Commencement

May 18, 2008


The address at the 144th Commencement of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia was presented by The Rev. David R. Strobel, Bishop of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA, M.Div. Class of 1971. Bishop Strobel's daughter Erika Lee Wesch was awarded the MDiv at commencement. Bishop Strobel is introduced by Priscilla Schlenker Kinney, Vice President, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod and member, LTSP Board of Trustees.

Class Address

William R. Kroeze and Erika L. Wesch, Co-Presidents of the Class of 2008, address the graduates and guests at the 144th Commencement of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spring Convocation 2008: Learning as Congregational Mission

April 29-30, 2008
Presenters: Dr. Norma Cook Everist, Dr. Richard Osmer, panel discussion

Grounded Theologically: Learning Leads to Mission and Mission Leads to Learning
Dr. Norma Cook Everist

The Teaching Ministry of a Missional Congregation
Dr. Richard Osmer

Christian Education: Looking into the Future
Panel discussion with keynote presenters Dr. Norma Cook Everist and Dr. Richard Osmar, joined by The Rev. Dr. Margaret Krych and The Rev. Jessicah Duckworth '03.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tough Texts: An Interfaith Dialog Series for Christian, Jewish & Muslim Leaders

Spring 2008

Gender and Sexuality
April 6, 2008

War and Peace
April 13, 2008

please note: the March 30 session, Identity and the Other, is not available online due to limited rights

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Liturgy: Questioning Foundations

Liturgy: Questioning Foundations was the topic of the Tuesday, April 1, 2008, Convocation at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), presented by The Rev. Dr. Dirk G. Lange, formerly Assistant Professor of Christian Assembly at LTSP.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Preaching with Power 2008 Lecture: The Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes

Five sermons and one lecture by six distinguished African American preachers and theologians, and a celebration of black sacred music comprise Preaching with Power: A Forum on Black Preaching and Theology. Tuesday, March 11, 11:30 am, LTSP, Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center

The Reverend Dr. Barbara Holmes is the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Dean of the Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. She holds a PhD from Vanderbilt University, an MDiv from Columbia Theological Seminary, and a JD from the Walter F. George School of Law. Dr. Holmes is a scholar, author, teacher, and community leader. Among her publications are: Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church (Fortress Press, 2004), Race and Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently (Trinity Press International, 2002), and A Private Woman in Public Spaces: Barbara Jordan's Speeches on Ethics, Public Religion, and Law (Trinity Press Inter-national, 2000). In addition to her books, Dr. Holmes has published numerous articles and is a nationally sought after speaker and lecturer. She is the recipient of many fellowships, grants and awards including the John Templeton Science and Religion Syllabus Award in 2001.

Additional Preaching with Power sermons and lectures through the years are available from purchase - see www.Ltsp.edu/preachingwithpower. Contact media@ltsp.edu for more information.

Monday, February 25, 2008

LTSP Advanced-Level Degree Programs (Graduate School)

An information session presented by The Rev. Dr. Margaret Krych and The Rev. Dr. David Grafton, Tuesday, February 25, 2008, Benbow Hall, The Brossman Learning Center at LTSP.

Learn about LTSP's advanced degree opportunities. Our fully-accredited offerings include Master of Sacred Theology (STM), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) , Doctor of Ministry (DMin), and Advanced Graduate Certificate. Learn more.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The 2008 Hein-Fry Lectures

February 19, 2008

Lecturer: Dr. Wanda Deifelt

Respondent: Dr. Nelson Rivera

Does Lutheran theology justify fundamentalism?
(Lecture 1) Dr. Deifelt

Advocacy and political participation: Is there a Lutheran political theology?
(Lecture 2) Dr. Deifelt

Response (Lecture 3) Dr. Rivera

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gender, Power, and Pastoring the People of God

Special lecture presented by The Rev. Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, formerly Professor of Pastoral Theology on Monday, February 11, 2008, Benbow Hall, The Brossman Learning Center at LTSP.

NOTE: Prof. Cooper-White addresses a difficult subject, especially in the way women are depicted in the media. She uses images as part of her presentation that some viewers might find difficult to view, as she explains in the lecture. Children and those who might be offended by strong images should not view this video.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Engaging Space: Liturgy is Public Theology

Convocation presented by The Rev. Dr. Melinda A. Quivik, Assistant Professor of Christian Assembly on Tuesday, February 5, 2008, Benbow Hall, The Brossman Learning Center at LTSP. Introduction by Prof. Katie Day.