Author: Gary M. Simpson

Gary M. Simpson is Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Excerpt from Critical Social Theory

Setting the Table: The Retrieval of Civil Society [1] It is no accident that Habermas revised his sociological theory in the early 1990s by attending more closely to civil society. Already before the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union, Central and Eastern European dissidents were focusing on the renewal of civil society, even in the […]

Church as Community of Moral Deliberation

Simpson situates the ELCA and its ethical discernments within the greater history of Lutheranism in 20th Century America, noting its goal of being a “community of moral deliberation.” ​​How is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America really Lutheran when looking at its theology, and does that reflect such a community?

Four Global Challenges

This article is the seventh chapter of Professor Simpson’s War, Peace, and God: Rethinking the Just-War Tradition, available from Augsburg Fortress Press. It is reprinted in JLE by permission. Four Global Challenges [1] In this final chapter I introduce four global challenges as we ponder God’s preferential future for earthly peace. First, we will look […]

“A Lutheran Social Policy Convoy”

[1] The ELCA is fast approaching its twentieth year and, having been there from the beginning, John Stumme is fast approaching his twentieth year of ELCA leadership, first as the Associate Director for Studies of the ELCA’s division for Church in Society and eventually as the Director for Studies. His imminent retirement provides an opportunity […]

Our Pacific Mandate: Orienting Just Peacemaking as Lutherans

[1] The “pacific mandate” does not apply to Lutherans. Neither does it apply to Christians. If that were the case, it’d be shocking. In truth, of course, God’s mandate of peace, of just peacemaking, applies to all people and peoples. It pertains then to all Christian saints who, simultaneously as sinners and as creatures, stand […]

Hope in the Face of The National Security Strategy: Three Readings and Patriotic Publicity

[1] He looked straight into my eyes that night and said it. “America is a nation with a mission, and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire”-2004 State of the Union Address.1 That President Bush had to tender this assurance eyeball to eyeball to […]

Forgotten Issue and Major Candidate Concern: The United Nations and “Publicity”

[1] The coming decade looks to be a time of testing for the United Nations and for the U.S. relationship to it. In the current political debate period discussion about this occurs only in coded, veiled, and vague speech revolving around unilateralism and multilateralism or global leadership and “no ‘global test’ under my watch,” and […]

Doing Business Ethics in the Congregation

[1] For most congregations, the business world is unfamiliar terrain, and the very idea of any particular business-oriented ministry may seem foreign. But since the moral turbulence in the business world shows no signs of ebbing, congregations may want to develop some form of ministry focused upon the world of business. This ministry will look […]

Congregational Strategies for Invigorating Lutheranism’s Just PeaceMaking Tradition

[1] This paper was originally presented as a PowerPoint based lecture at Pacific Lutheran University on February 10, 2003, for a conference titled Two Kingdoms Collide: A Lutheran Perspective on War, Peace, and Social Justice.1 [2] “Just peacemaking” Lutherans have not often used that terminology2. We have, however, engaged in just peacemaking, often even as […]

Puckering up for Postmodern Kissing: Civil Society and the Lutheran Entwinement of Just Peace/Just War

[1] Post-September 11, 2001 Lutherans can faithfully participate in the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence by examining once again our own just war teaching. As a sign of the times 9/11 implores us to consider earnestly the deep connections between just war and just peacekeeping and peacemaking. [2] I say “once again” […]

Daunting, Indeed! A Critical Conversation with The Promise of Lutheran Ethics

[1] “This daunting challenge”! Just so has John Stumme aptly christened The Promise of Lutheran Ethics1 (hereafter PLE). The Division for Church in Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America commissioned this volume “to examine in a fundamental way the nature of Lutheran ethics today” (4). Daunting, indeed! Seven major essays make up the […]