Visala Aku ,
Contexts and Currents of Contemporary Protestant Theology: a Scandinavian Perspective ,
Antonianum, 88/1 (2013) p. 25-39
Summary: The Lutheran church and Lutheran theology have had a deep influence in Scandinavian societies over the last 500 years. This is true about the moral and intellectual climate but also about the more general structure of society and social institutions. Although Scandinavian societies are often presented as being highly secularized, this is only partly true. The public influence of religion has diminished and church adherence has plummeted but religious belief is still there. Theologically, the problem is the severed link between belief and morality and everyday life. This is the Achilles heel of contemporary Lutheran theology in general: there is no agreed upon notion of Christian life or morality. The situation in Scandinavia is not that different from the situation of Protestant theology in Western countries in general. Three theological movements have emerged to challenge the situation: (1) Radical Orthodoxy in the UK, (2) post-liberal and narrative theology in the US and (3) analytic theology. Both Radical Orthodoxy and post-liberal theology maintain that Christian churches and theologies need to be true to their own tradition and maintain a critical distance to secular culture. They also emphasize that theology should arise from Christian life lived in Christian communities. The analytic theology movement is somewhat different and its emphasis is purely intellectual: theological claims are defensible in the public forum, if tools and methods are adopted from analytic philosophy.