Following on its first meeting in the Philippines last year, in September 2017 the teams of the international Lutheran-Pentecostal dialogue met in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, a location chosen for the historic significance of the year. As with the annual Studying Luther in Wittenberg seminar, the meeting took place at the Colleg Wittenberg, a short distance from the City Church. The dialogue members enjoyed daily worship in the Corpus Christi Chapel and participation in a tree planting at the Luthergarten, as well as the warm hospitality of the Colleg and beautifully renovated sites all over the city.
The second in a five-year process, this year turned attention to the theme of proclamation, taking as its inspiration Luke 4:18, “he has anointed me to proclaim.” Two papers were presented: the first by Tham-Wan Yee (Malaysia/Philippines) about Pentecostal theologies of mission and the other by Johannes Zeiler (Sweden) on Lutheran theologies of mission. Rich discussion followed both papers, and the whole theme of proclamation was deepened by a presentation from Andreas Finke on the unique post-Christian and post-communist environment of eastern Germany. Team members were encouraged to discover immense overlap in their perspectives on mission, and what contrasts existed were welcomed as salutary challenges and correctives. A document was drafted detailing the findings of the week, which will be used in preparing a final report in the fifth year of the dialogue.
The Pentecostal participants were Dr. Jean-Daniel Plüss, co-chair (Swiss Pentecostal Mission, Switzerland), Rev. Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Pentecostal theological consultant, Finland/USA), Rev. Dr. Cecil M Robeck, Jr. (Assemblies of God, USA), Rev. Gani Wiyono (Assemblies of God, Indonesia), Rev. Tham Wan Yee (Assemblies of God, Malaysia) and Dr. Olga Zaprometova (Church of God, Russia). The Lutherans were Rev. Dr. Walter Altmann, co-chair (Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil), Rev. Tamás Gáncs (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary), Rev. Dr. Wilfred J. Samuel (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malaysia), Rev. Dr. Cheryl Peterson (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), and Rev. Johannes Zeiler (Church of Sweden). Rev. Dr. Amos Buntausa (Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria) was unable to attend. Rev. Dr. Kaisamari Hintikka (Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations with Lutheran World Federation, Switzerland/Finland) and Rev. Anne Burghardt (Secretary for Ecumencial Relations, Switzerland/Estonia) represented the Lutheran World Federation and coordinated events. Rev. Dr. Sarah Hinlicky Wilson served as consultant on behalf of the Institute for Ecumenical Research.
Next year the dialogue will meet in Latin America to take up the theme “good news to the poor,” with a specific focus on the so-called prosperity gospel.
Photo: Sarah Hinlicky Wilson