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Lecture and discussion commemorate 500th anniversary of Protestantism

It has been 500 years since Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-five Theses”—a list of statements for debate—in Wittenberg, Germany, and launched what came to be known as the Lutheran Reformation. Christianity was irreversibly changed by Luther’s actions, and this fall, North Central University will be exploring the impact of 500 years of Protestantism.

On October 23–25, 2017, North Central welcomes world-renown theologian Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and a panel representing the Catholic/Evangelical Dialogue to campus as we commemorate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s bold actions. People of all denominations are invited to join us for these lecture and dialogue events:

  • October 23, 7 p.m. — Lecture by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen: “Recovering and Re-sourcing the Reformation Doctrine of Justification for the Sake of the Pluralistic World”
  • October 24, 7 p.m.Interview/discussion featuring  Bonn Clayton, Glen Menzies, William Stevenson, and Christian Washburn: Catholic/Evangelical Dialogue

The events will take place in the Lindquist Sanctuary in the Trask Word and Worship Center at North Central University, 910 Elliot Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404, and are free and open to the public. Learn more.

In addition to evening lectures, Kärkkäinen will be the featured speaker for student chapel and a guest lecturer in several classes.

According to Allen Tennison, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology, there is a value for the whole Christian community—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal—to understand the roots of the Reformation and how it continues to influence the world today, and Tennison believes Kärkkäinen is an ideal person to lead that discussion.

“Dr. Kärkkäinen has been one of the most important voices in Pentecostal theology in the last few years, as well as an established scholar in Lutheranism,” Tennison observed.  “The presence of members of the Catholic/Evangelical Dialogue will also provide a fuller understanding in an area where differing perspectives often create divides.”

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, featured speaker

500th Anniversary of Protestanism Matti KarkkainenVeli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Dr.Theol.Habil., University of Helsinki) is Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA and Docent of Ecumenics at the University of Helsinki. A native of Finland, he has also lived and taught theology in Thailand. An ordained Lutheran minister (ELCA), he is a part-time associate pastor for the Finnish Lutheran Church in California and Texas. Kärkkäinen is also a leading expert of the Pentecostal-Charismatic theology, including representation in various international dialogues and consultations. He has also participated widely in the ecumenical, theological, and interreligious work and is a member of the Building Bridges Muslim-Christian Dialogue.

A prolific writer, Kärkkäinen has authored or edited over 20 books in English (and seven in his native Finnish), including The Trinity: Global Perspectives (2007), One with God: Salvation as Deification and Justification (2004), and Trinity and Religious Pluralism: The Doctrine of the Trinity in Christian Theology of Religions (2004), as well as more than 150 articles.

His most recent work is a five-volume systematic theology titled Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World (released in 2013 through 2018) which engages not only Christian tradition in its historical and contemporary diversity but also teachings of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, as well as the natural sciences.