For All People: Global Theologies in Contexts; Essays in Honor of Viggo Mortensen

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For All People: Global Theologies in Contexts; Essays in Honor of Viggo Mortensen. Edited by Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen, Holger Lam, and Peter Lodberg. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002. Pp. viii, 242. Paperback $24.

The received wisdom is that publishers are not receptive to essay collections and Festschriften. Eerdmans is to be commended for defying that wisdom with the publication of For All People. Its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. It gives deserved honor to Viggo Mortensen, whose own theological pilgrimage has led him to engage the challenges of globalization, an odyssey that led him from an academic focus upon ethics and the philosophy of religion to a fruitful tenure as director of the Department of Theology and Studies at the Lutheran World Federation, to his present place as professor of global Christianity and ecumenics at the University of Aarhus.

The book's essays are grouped under three topics. The first, "Globalization as Challenge to Mission and Ecumenism," demonstrates diverse but complementary missiological approaches to the complex reality of globalization. Clear and basic definitions of terms are provided by Robert Schreiter in his essay "Globalization, Postmodernity, and the New Catholicity." Johannes Nissen demonstrates the ways in which the encounter with globalization uncovers new interpretive avenues into ancient biblical themes.

The second and largest section is entitled "Challenges to Ecumenism and Christian Identity." Several essays deal with the impact of the globalization of Christianity upon European Christendom and interpret the current passage of these now largely secularized cultures with illuminating overviews and perceptive insights. Victor Westhelle's essay, "Is Europe Christian? A Challenge to a Viking," as well as Jens Holger Schjørring's contribution, "Church Identity in the Nordic Countries-an International Perspective," were a particular help to me in preparing for two recent interactions with the Church of Denmark. …

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