Author: Craig L. Nessan

Dr. Craig L. Nessan is Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics, and the William D. Streng Professor for the Education and Renewal of the Church at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.  He teaches courses in the areas of leadership and theological ethics. He holds degrees from Michigan State University, Wartburg Theological Seminary, and the University of Munich.  His theological interests include diakonia as a paradigm for the future church.

Grounding Child Protection in Six Core Commitments: Theology and Ethics

Introduction [1] As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America deliberates a possible social message on child abuse and child protection, it is vital to ground the commitment to protecting children in core teachings that make explicit the implications for child protection.[1] This article addresses six core theological and ethical themes—baptism, spiritual practices, ecclesiology, diakonia, mission, […]

There Is No God and Mary Is His Mother: Rediscovering Religionless Christianity by Thomas Cathcart

[1] Hearkening back to the death of God theologians, Thomas Cathcart writes a provocative book to jar conventional theology. Cathcart—like Thomas J. J. Altizer, William Hamilton, Paul van Buren, and Gabriel Vahanian among others before him—challenges traditional conceptions of a transcendental divine being and the obsolete cosmologies that perpetuate such misunderstandings. With the rapidly increasing […]

Learning from the Barmen Declaration of 1934: Theological-Ethical-Political Commentary

19   [1] The Barmen Theological Declaration was crafted and adopted in May 1934 by a scholarly team whose guiding figure was Karl Barth. The context for this theological statement included the increasing machinations by the German Christians, supported in their efforts by the Nazi regime, to control and dominate the Protestant churches in Germany […]

Wilhelm Loehe on the Christian Life

[1] Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe (1808-1872) served from 1837 to the end of his life as a village pastor in Neuendettelsau, Germany, in the vicinity of Nuremberg. This was a call that Loehe did not covet. However, from this out-of-the way place, Loehe engaged in a ministry and mission that had monumental influence, not only […]

J. Michael Reu on the Christian Life

[1] Johann Michael Reu (1869-1943) was born in Diebach, Germany and trained for the pastoral ministry at the mission institute founded by Wilhelm Loehe in Neuendettelsau. He came to the United States in 1889, first serving as pastor at Mendota and then at Rock Falls, Illinois for ten years until 1899. Reu was next called […]