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Christ Crucified

A 21st-Century Missiology of the Cross

Mark W. Thomsen

The author's theological reflection is seasoned by long years of engagement in mission and interfaith relations. On each page the reader is drawn into the author's passionate concern both to affirm Luther's theology of the cross and free it from a fortress of tradition that must be copied in every place and clime. He argues rather that the Lutheran tradition of the "theology of the cross" must be stretched in many ways as it responds to the needs of Christians in the "third world" and through dialogue with the world's other religions. For Thomsen there is "no God other than the God embodied and identified in the Crucified." At the heart of the universe is a God whose love, concretized in the life and suffering of Jesus, embraces the whole cosmos. It's this deep Christcentric understanding of God that frees us, says Thomsen, to be radically open to the world, to one another and to all people. Thomsen's cross-based missiology is a welcome theological guide for Christians who wish to be in a relationship of witness, dialogue and service with the neighbor who is also religious other.

Mark Thomsen has most recently served as Visiting Professor of Mission at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) and director of the Chicago Center for Global Ministries. Following his ordination in 1957, Thomsen was principal of the Lutheran Seminary, Lamurde, Nigeria, and academic dean at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria. Upon returning to the United States, he taught at Dana College, Blair, Neb., and Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. Before joining the LSTC faculty in 1996, he was director of the Division of World Mission and Church Cooperation of the American Lutheran Church, and executive director of the Division for Global Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

REVIEW
This book argues that the symbol and reality of the crucified Messiah Jesus must inform the church's mode of being in the world as a missionary community. Thomsen knows that he is going against the grain in advocating this case, but he does so convincingly. Two words can summarize this excellent book—apologia crucis. In the introduction he roots himself in the Lutheran heritage. Then, in five carefully written chapters, Thomsen retrieves a contemporary gospel: 1) regarding the suffering and pain of God and the world; 2) the need for a missiology of the cross; 3) showing that all this can be done in ways sensitive to the reality and gifts of other traditions and evolving new relationships between religious traditions; 4) demonstrating that proclaiming a crucified Christ is compatible with our interreligious situation; and 5) opening up ways to preach the paradoxes and ironies of the mystery of grace in the shadow of the cross. This book is a valuable companion to D. Bosch's Transforming Mission and to S. Bevans's and R. Schroeder's Constants in Context. It retrieves the singular importance of the cross as a revelation of what is at stake in mission, a horizon that is not as prominent in Catholic and mainline missiology as it deserves to be, while avoiding the conceptual rigidities and fideism of very conservative missiologies.
Religious Studies Review
by William R. Burrows

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Christ CrucifiedChrist Crucified

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ISBN: 1932688013
124 Pages
Size: 6 x 9
Binding: Perfectbound
Publisher: Kirk House Publishers
Quantity in Basket: None
$16.00

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